England

Durham County Council to close seven care homes

Council bosses have unanimously approved controversial plans to close seven care homes in County Durham.

The council claims the move is in response to more elderly people choosing to remain at home rather than opting for costly residential care.

Relatives of the 110 residents affected by the plans have pledged to continue their opposition to the measure.

The homes are in Lanchester, Bishop Auckland, Stanley, Blackhall, Annfield Plain, Newton Aycliffe and Shildon.

In total 230 staff members will be affected.

The council has argued that there is sufficient private sector accommodation available to justify plans to close the care homes.

Reducing expenditure

Councillor Morris Nicholls said: "Cabinet members had to make a very difficult decision and one that we did not take lightly.

"We are aware that this is an issue that has evoked strong reactions, but in deciding to approve the recommendation for closure we had to take into account a wide range of factors such as declining demand for residential care and the ongoing costs of maintaining the homes.

"This is at a time when government funding is being withdrawn in a number of areas and we are facing increasing pressure to reduce expenditure."

But opponents have claimed many of the residents are too infirm to be moved to other establishments.

Closure has been confirmed for Manor House, Annfield Plain; Glendale House, Blackhall; Lynwood House, Lanchester; Shafto House, Newton Aycliffe; Hackworth House, Shildon; Stanfield House, Stanley; and East Green, Bishop Auckland.

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