Leeds City Council is set to close four of its old people’s homes as it bids to slash £4m a year from its social services bill.
Amberton Court in Gipton, Burley Willows in Burley, Fairview in Seacroft and Musgrave Court in Pudsey are all facing the axe.
Manorfield House in Horsforth and Primrose Hill in Boston Spa are to stay open for existing residents only, after supporters led campaigns on behalf of both facilities. Suffolk Court in Yeadon, meanwhile, could move to offering transitional care and eventually convert to a specialist ‘intermediate’ care centre.
Home Lea House in Rothwell will remain open as talks begin with interested community groups about a possible community takeover.
Seventy-six people will have to be rehoused by the authority if the proposals get the green light from the council’s cabinet next week. Around 200 pensioners in total will be affected by the full raft of planned residential and day care closures.
Bosses had originally proposed closing eight of the city’s care homes. But after almost 14,000 people signed petitions against the plans, the authority has changed some of its proposals.
Campaigners today welcomed the reprieve for some, but said any closures would cause “huge disruption” to the lives of many people in their twilight years.
However, Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive member for adult social care, insisted: “At the very heart of this review is the welfare of our older people.”
Coun Ogilvie added: “We have said all along that we would listen to and take account of views we heard - and we have.
“Where residents may have to move they will not be financially disadvantaged and every single person affected will have his or her own support team to ensure their needs are met, their own choice is exercised and the move is as smooth a possible.”
The closures, which could happen within two years, would eventually see three of the four targeted care homes demolished, the land put up for sale and any proceeds pumped back into the city’s social services budget.
Burley Willows and its attached day centre would be used for the building of new ‘extra care housing’.
Severance and redeployment packages are already being drawn up for staff at all of the affected homes, but the council says there will be no compulsory redundancies.
Sandie Keene, Leeds City Council’s director of adult social services, said: “The reality is it will be £4m a year that the council doesn’t have to spend in the way it is doing now. We will continue providing care for people but at less costs.
“This is absolutely value for money in terms of being able to demonstrate that we can continue to support people but we are not spending money in upgrading [outdated] facilities,
“It is stopping the need to spend more money, as well as saving money.”
Campaigner Julia Chapman, who fought to save Manorfield House in Horsforth from closure, said she was “absolutely delighted”, but “sad for the residents and families of those homes that are closing”, many of whom faced “huge disruption” to their lives. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you