DESPITE a long-running campaign to save a Kingswinford care home from the axe, a permanent reprieve looks unlikely - a new council report has revealed.
Residents at New Bradley Hall have been promised they can live out their lives at the council-run residential facility - but new Dudey Council leaders look set to approve plans which may lead to its eventual demise.
A consultation, carried out by Age UK Dudley, highlighted strong support for keeping the home open indefinitely - and both Labour and Tory councillors made election pledges in April to give the facility a stay of execution.
But a report published yesterday (Wednesday), due to go before next week’s cabinet committee, urges new ruling Labour councillors to approve plans to keep the home open for existing residents only - with future vacancies to be filled by those needing short-term respite care.
Campaigner Mac Scott, of the New Bradley Hall Action Group, said: “I’m a little bit disappointed that they don’t appear to have listened to the people of Dudley who have overwhelmingly said they want to keep it as a long-term residential establishment.
“Three quarters or more (75.2 per cent) of the 141 people who completed questionnaires were in favour of keeping it open as it is.
“If they ignore that why have a consultation?”
The report recommends Option C, outlined in Age Concern Dudley’s consultation document, to “give security to existing residents” and meet growing demand for respite care.
This option would also achieve savings in the respite care budget which could go towards the costs of the council’s favoured Extra Care Housing schemes.
Whereas Option B would mean the home would continue to run with “higher running costs than in the independent sector” and it would “not deliver any of the anticipated revenue contribution of £634k towards the care costs of future Extra Care Housing schemes” requiring funding to be found in existing social care budgets.
It would also require over £750,000 to be spent on updating the home for the future.
Councillor Steve Waltho, Dudley’s new cabinet member for adult and community services, said when quizzed about the report that there were “no plans whatsoever to close New Bradley Hall”.
He added: “We pledged to keep it open for the residents that are there. That was the important part of this campaign. We can also start to use it for much-needed respite care.”
Although he admitted “no-one can say never”, adding: “I’m a big fan of these Extra Care developments - they’re the future without a doubt.
“Hopefully we’ll never get into this almost unique situation ever again so I’ve asked at the highest level that we look to put a mix of people in care homes and that Extra Care facilities provide more support than they can currently give to people like the residents in New Bradley Hall.”