Care home closure: council extend deadline as public pressure mounts

Campaigners, led by families of care home residents and Erewash Borough Councillors, took their petition to save Hazelwood Home for Older People to meeting of Derbyshire County Council in Matlock last week.
Campaigners, led by families of care home residents and Erewash Borough Councillors, took their petition to save Hazelwood Home for Older People to meeting of Derbyshire County Council in Matlock last week.

Derbyshire County Council has extended the consultation period on the future of a Cotmanhay care home after campaigners took their message to County Hall.

The council will now keep the consultation on closing Hazelwood Home for Older People open until Tuesday, January 2 – an addition of 19 days to the original timetable.

The announcement came the day after a heated debate at County Hall, Matlock, on Wednesday, December 6, when local residents presented a petition to save the home signed by 3,818 people.

Georgina Thornley, who has a family member living at Hazelwood, said: “We are a strong united campaign and will continue to fight the planned closure for the sake of all our relatives, who want to stay there.

“We are asking the council administration to stop, and change their minds now, so our families don’t have this ruin their Christmas.”

The extension of the consultation deadline may be a way to delay the immediate anxieties of people connected with the home.

Campaigners who attended the meeting did not feel the council was so receptive to their broader arguments in support of the home.

Catherine Atkinson, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Erewash, said: “I asked why the council was reneging on its manifesto promise to the people of Ilkeston that it would continue to have a council care home in the town.

“They gave no answer and no commitment that residents would be able to stay in Ilkeston should it close.”

She added: “The cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Jean Wharmby, acknowledged it would be a breach of their promise, but ignored our specific questions and just gave a vague answer. It was totally unsatisfactory.

“I can’t decide whether the way the Tory council are handling this is incompetent or cruel.”

The council is considering closing the home as it claims it cannot find an estimated £1.7million to carry out repairs and refurbishment - figures which have been disputed.

Announcing the new deadline, Coun Wharmby said: “I’m aware of the strength of feeling in the community and we’ll listen carefully to what people are saying.

“We can’t pre-empt the outcome of the consultation but I can assure the community that everyone’s views will be taken into account.”

n For details on the consultation, visit https://goo.gl/PXn8jX.