Staff and residents at a Southampton care home have been left "devastated" following the news the home will close at the end of the year.

Large cobwebs and mops "black with dirt" were found at Oakwood in West End Road, Bitterne, when inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates the industry, visited in August.

Oakwood was handed an overall rating of "Inadequate" - a year after being told to improve.

Now owner Bobby Allan has decided to shut the home on December 31, claiming the city council's decision to start removing residents meant the business was no longer financially viable.

Daily Echo: Oakwood Care Home on West End Road in BitterneOakwood Care Home on West End Road in Bitterne (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Dirty laundry found at 'Inadequate' Bitterne care home

Mr Allan, whose own mother is one of the residents, said a new manager appointed to resolve issues at the home had been in place for only a few weeks when the CQC inspection took place.

He complained that neither the Commission nor the city council had given Oakwood a chance to complete the necessary improvements.

"True there are issues, but at least give us time to save the home," he said.

Staff have leapt to Oakwood's defence following the CQC's verdict, which was published in October.

Maria Newman said: "It isn't just a business it's a family home. We know our residents feel safe, happy, and loved - and their families agree.

"The past week has been tough since receiving the [closure] news.

"Families have been left devastated, residents have been emotional and crying, expressing their heartache at facing the possibility of moving elsewhere.

"The staff are equally affected, which is why we are seeking support from everyone involved to help change the outcome. No one should have to go through this, especially at this time of year.

"The stress has been immense on residents and staff. 

"I've worked at Oakwood for a number of years and thought it was the last job I would ever have. It's more than just a job, it's like a family unit and a second home."

Another employee added: "I have seen nothing but love and dedication to our residents and their families.

"Residents have been left in turmoil over the news. They do not wish to be moved elsewhere as Oakwood is their home. It’s a place they have grown to love."

Mr Allan said he had spent £80,000 on upgrading the facility over the past year.

"This was all for nothing as the money has been depleted and I had no reserves to cover any resident shortfalls. We have been thrown under a bus," he said.

A city council spokesperson added: "Representatives from the council and the NHS have continued to work with the owner and manager of the facility to support them to achieve the necessary improvements and to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of residents.

"Despite these efforts, the owner has taken the decision to serve notice to the home’s residents, advising that they must leave the home by the end of December."

Oakwood can accommodate up to 28 residents but currently has only 17, according to the council.

"Council representatives are working closely with these individuals and their families to review residents’ needs, identify alternative care arrangements, and ensure continuity of care throughout this period.

“The city continues to have a surplus of care home vacancies and we are confident suitable alternative care can be arranged for those affected within the required timeframe.”

Last year the CQC told the home to improve after inspectors concluded that staff training was not always complete or up to date.

Now Oakwood has been handed an even lower rating after it was found there were areas of the home that needed a deep clean.

The report said: “Mops were found in dirty water and not stored in line with guidance, mop heads that were black with dirt were being used, and clinical bins within the toilets were not pedal operated.”