Derbyshire County Council’s Labour group leaders have hit back at accusations they let a Cotmanhay care home deteriorate to the brink of closure.
The council is running a public consultation on the closure of Hazelwood Care Home until December 14, claiming it cannot afford an estimated £2.2million for essential repairs. In an Advertiser column on Thursday, November 16, Erewash MP Maggie Throup voiced her opposition to the proposal, but laid the blame for the situation on the council’s previous administration.
She wrote: “For far too long Hazelwood has, in my view, been neglected, with the previous Labour administration failing to carry out vital repairs to keep residents safe and warm.”
This has angered Labour council members, however, who say they had an upgrade plan in place for Hazelwood prior to local elections in May.
Labour group leader, Councillor Anne Western, said: “It is absolutely untrue, unfair and unacceptable to say that Labour allowed this situation to arise.
“We had gone to great lengths to keep Hazelwood open and had an investment plan to do the refurbishments. It came completely out of the blue to us when the council announced they may close it.”
She added: “The home would not be there now if Labour hadn’t rescued it along with 18 other council homes when we came into office.”
Coun Western pointed out that the 2009-13 Conservative council planned to close all but four local authority homes and replace them with facilities run by a private sector partner - who later backed out saying it could not deliver.
Labour injected £4.21m to improve the homes, and made plans to extend Hazelwood for specialist dementia care. In January, the cabinet agreed a £795,000 budget for the work.
Coun Western said: “Council officers did an in-depth report, Hazelwood came out very well, and no one found anything like the costs the council are claiming now.
“The home is vital for Ilkeston. I can put my hand on heart and say we were committed to keep it open, and would have found the money.”