A landmark deal that would allow people in Rothwell to run a much-loved care home is in doubt.
Leeds City Council has been accused of deliberately scuppering the agreement that could see Dolphin Manor, in Stone Brig Lane, stay open under the control of a committee of residents.
Having been in the pipeline for three years, the move would have been the first of its kind for a social care facility in the city but its collapse throws the future of the home and nearby Home Lea House into doubt.
Rothwell residents, who are fronting the bid through the Dolphin Manor Trust, have voiced their frustration at the slow progress of negotiations, claiming the council “don’t want us to succeed”.
But council health bosses have told the YEP that the future of Dolphin Manor is still up for debate after they requested more details on the proposed business case despite the fact that the idea of working with the community on extra care housing on the site was suggested.
Dolphin Manor Trust spokesman John Normington, whose mother was a Dolphin Manor resident until she passed away in February, believes the council is “not being pro active” or helpful to the trust.
“It’s quite plain that they don’t want us to succeed and I don’t know why, it’s a great idea and it keeps the money in the area,” he said.
The trust’s business model would see the Dolphin Manor, as well as another council-run Home Lea House, run by the Sandwell Community Caring Trust - a social enterprise with successful homes in the Midlands - and any surplus made by the homes would be reinvested in the local area. It is feared that if the deal fails to come off, services at both homes could be cut.
Dolphin Manor, a 26-year-old council-run home, was earmarked for closure in 2011 before residents persuaded the council to negotiate over the community asset transfer deal.
Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said: “They [the council] are quite happy to asset transfer to people they know who are what they term as professionals but they obviously have a great suspicion of the community taking over this kind of thing.”
He added that he feels “they have already made their decision” to close Dolphin Manor in favour of extra care housing due to the construction of a new private care home nearby in Oulton.
Coun Lisa Mulherin, the council’s executive member for health, said that no decisions have yet been made on the future of Dolphin Manor.
She added: “We’re committed to working with local people to continue to explore a social enterprise model that will offer older people in the area a choice in where they live and care that suits their needs.”