£4m Phoenix House care home in Blandford to close

Petition being handed over by staff member Eleanor Parker ahead of the meeting
Image caption A 1,000 signature petition calling for Phoenix House to be kept open was handed over ahead of the meeting

A £4m care home in Dorset is set to close, two years after it opened.

Dorset County Council has recommended closing Phoenix House, in Blandford, as it says the home is under occupied.

It said only one of the 10 permanent beds was currently being used, but it would not close the home until other care places were found for users.

The union Unison, which is representing a majority of the 31 workers at the home, said both staff and families who used the centre were concerned.

The purpose-built home opened in 2012 and provides specialist accommodation for people with learning and physical disabilities.

The council's recommendation for closure is part of a re-organisation of care homes in the county.

'Very distressed'

Amanda Brown, Unison branch secretary, said six additional respite beds at the home were well used.

"People are very distressed about what is going to happen to their loved ones now," she said.

"Are they still going to get the care that they need locally?

"For staff, there is a shortage of good quality jobs around and this is a very rural area."

Ms Brown said a 1,000 signature petition calling for Phoenix House to be kept open was handed over to the council's cabinet ahead of the meeting.

She said the union would try to get the decision overturned during the 45-day legal consultation.

Conservative Jill Haynes, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "It will not close until alternative care has been provided for all current users."

Liberal Democrat councillors had called for the decision to be delayed while the process of agreeing to sell Phoenix House was re-examined.

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