Political backlash over Leeds care home closure plans

LABOUR-run Leeds City Council is facing a historic political backlash from its own councillors after a decision to close three care homes.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 4:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:52 pm
Campaigners who are fighting against the closure of The Green care home in Seacroft, Leeds, which could shut as part of cost-cutting plans by the council. (l-r) Bill Askin, Counc Catherine Dobson, Richard Burgon MP, Lindsey Cannon, Tony Cannon and David Jenkins . 16 September 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Five Labour councillors signed a request to call in last month’s controversial executive board decision to approve the closure of The Green care home a Seacroft.

It is believed to be the first time councillors from the governing administration in Leeds have called for an executive board decision to be reviewed.

Councillors from Leeds Conservatives, Morley Borough Independents, the Green Party and the Lib Dems have signed three other call in requests over the executive board’s decision to close Middlecross care home, in Armley, Siegen Manor, in Morley, and The Green in Seacroft, and their associated day centres. Radcliffe Day Centre, in Pudsey, Springfield Day Centre in Cottingley and Wykebeck Valley Day Centre in Halton are also earmarked for closure.

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The proposed closures will be examined by members of the council’s adult social services scrutiny board at a meeting next Wednesday. The scrutiny board could decide to refer the original decision to close the three care homes back to executive board.

Coun Catherine Dobson (Lab – Killingbeck and Seacroft), said: “It really isn’t the norm to call in a decision by your own party and whilst I appreciate all the financial pressures we are under I just feel it’s the wrong decision.”

Leeds East Labour MP Richard Burgon, said: “When Labour councillors submitted the call in on the executive board’s decision to close The Green care home this was the first time in the history of Leeds City Council that councillors from the governing administration have felt it necessary to do his.

“This shows how strong the feeling is about the decision of Leeds City Council’s executive board to close The Green despite the council’s health scrutiny board recommending it remains open.

“I’d like to congratulate the Labour councillors who have taken a stand on this issue.”

Mr Burgon added: “No amount of glamorous city centre projects will compensate for people living with dementia in Seacroft being made to leave what is their home.

“If the council’s executive board disregards scrutiny board recommendations then there is little scope for ordinary councillors to influence the leadership of Leeds City Council.”

Coun Rebecca Charlwood, executive member for health, wellbeing and adults said: “The scrutiny board has already made a significant contribution to the way proposals for the future of care homes in Leeds have developed, so we welcome the Board’s continuing engagement as it’s important decisions such as this are given in depth consideration before being implemented.”