DUDLEY'S Tory leader has branded borough bosses "political pygmies who went back on their promises" following confirmation that Black Country Housing Group is to take over the running of a Kingswinford care home.

The council confirmed last week the Blackheath based not-for-profit provider had been named the preferred provider to take over New Bradley Hall.

Councillor Patrick Harley, ward councillor and Dudley’s Tory group leader, said it was “with regret” that the home could not stay under local authority control and he commended campaigners on their determined efforts to keep it open.

He said: "Mac Scott and Phil Vanes deserve the highest praise for the way they have continued their campaign to the very end. In the eyes of the public both Mac and Phil tower over the political pygmies who went back on their promises to support them."

Councillor Dave Branwood, Dudley’s cabinet member for adult and community however, hit back – saying: “It's easy to label people pygmies but the only thing that's short is Cllr Harley's memory - two years ago the Tories wanted to bulldoze the home and now we are delivering a solution which keeps the home open, allows residents to remain there and protects jobs."

Black Country Housing Group, which operates three sheltered schemes across the borough and other care contracts for the council, has pledged to spend £750,000 on improving the home and talks are underway over the technicalities of transferring the home and staff from the council to BCHG.

Cllr Branwood said: "We are now entering a period of due diligence with Black Country Housing Group to ensure the conclusion of the lease and TUPE transfer of staff. We hope to have this completed as quickly as possible, but no date has been set. Staff, residents and their families will be kept informed with any developments."

He also promised to set up a New Bradley Hall Transition and Quality group following calls from campaigners and ward councillors and said: "We have proposed this will be chaired by BCHG and residents, relatives and staff would be invited to attend. The meetings would be minuted by BCHG an for an agreed period a council officer would attend to ensure any issues are being picked up and dealt with appropriately. "