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Battle brews as council confirms plan to sell off Kingswinford care home
5:00pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
CARE home campaigners in Kingswinford are facing another fight following the shock announcement that New Bradley Hall is to be sold to a charity or social enterprise to run.
Dudley Council announced on Tuesday it would be inviting tenders from not-for-profit organisations to deliver care at the Compton Drive home - which only last year celebrated a stay of execution after a hard-fought battle to save it from the axe.
Council bosses say the plan aims to secure the long-term future of the 31-bed home but campaigners say it means a new wave of anxiety and uncertainty for staff, elderly residents and relatives.
Campaign leader Mac Scott MBE, whose 96-year-old mother-in-law lives at the home, said: “We’re disappointed and the staff are very upset, it’s causing so much anxiety after we tried to stop all that.
“We wanted the council to retain some reserve of a local authority residential facility for the people who are the most vulnerable in our society.”
Dudley Council claims the new proposal means existing residents can stay at the home and staff will have chance to continue working there - but for a new organisation.
Councillor Dave Branwood, Dudley’s cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The people living and working at New Bradley Hall are at the heart of these proposals. They have lived under the cloud of uncertainty for too long and we need to bring this to an end.
“The message from the campaigners was delivered loud and clear that the community wanted New Bradley Hall to stay open.
“These proposals deliver this against a backdrop of unprecedented financial pressure for the council.
“By inviting bids from not-for-profit organisations the home will be managed in the most ethical way possible and conditions for staff and residents will remain high.”
Kingswinford councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley’s Conservative Party, however, said there was no certainty “a not-for-profit group would make a go of it as it needs £750,000 spending on it” and he branded the plan “a cop out that satisfies nobody”.
He added: “What they should be doing is talking to one of our partners like Midland Heart.
“It’s a prime site - there could be new opportunities and a new home purpose-built for the 21st century.
“At the same time they could keep New Bradley Hall open and when the new building is built they could demolish it and build new apartments on the site.
“They could create a state-of-the art complex for old people with special provision for people with dementia. Everybody wins.”
Meetings are now planned with council officers, residents and staff to discuss the proposal which will go through a formal staff consultation in November.
It will be followed by a three-month tendering process - with a view to the council transferring ownership of the home to a new organisation before the end of the financial year.
In the meantime, however, Mr Scott and fellow campaigner Phil Vanes hope to convince the council to rethink the plan.
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