Adverts To Sell Leceistershire Care Homes Go On Website
Six threatened county care homes are being advertised to property buyers on-line – despite an ongoing consultation over their future.
More than 30 businesses said they would be interested in the properties – if they were put up for sale.
The county council placed an advert on an industry website this month, and parties who responded are already being vetted by experts.
The council spelled out in previous reports it would see if the homes would sell, if it felt it necessary.
However, critics of the move said it added up to more than the “soft-test of the market” the council had talked about.
Last time the authority attempted to sell seven homes in 2004, they could only sell four.
That time, no market testing was carried out, and the council said it was “desperate” to ensure if they were sold, they go to quality providers.
Sara Dickinson’s 89-year-old grandmother, Laura, is a resident of Catherine Dalley House, one home earmarked for sale.
Sara, from Melton, said: “They said they were to test the market but it strikes me this is much more than that.
“I am surprised they have gone this far and it hardly gives people confidence that their voices will be heard.”
Labour leader and Melton councillor Matthew O’Callagh-an said: “No wonder people are getting more and more worried about this.
“This gives out an impression the decision has already been made and as some people suspect this consultation is a sham. This is hardly a soft-test of the market is it. It looks like much more to me.”
The advert is on www.supply2.gov.uk . It says anyone “wishing to express an interest in acquiring one or more of the homes” should write in. No details about prices are included.
The cash raised from sales and savings in future years would be spent to develop more extra care schemes across the county.
Extra care allows the elderly to buy or rent a flat or bungalow so they can live independently, but with 24-hour medical care.
In August, cabinet members backed plans to transfer six of its 10 county care homes to private businesses.
Catherine Dalley House, in Melton, Hadrian House, in Thurmaston, Huntingdon Court, in Loughborough, Harvey House, in Barwell, Kirby House, in Kirby Muxloe and Woodmarket House, in Lutterworth, are seen as homes which could be taken off the council’s hands. The remaining four homes would provide specialist support, such as dementia care.
These are Lenthall House, in Market Harborough, Curtis Weston House, in Wigston, The Limes, in Hinckley, and Tillson House, in Coalville.
Cabinet member for adult social care, Coun David Sprason said: “We have made it clear all along that we would test the market but we are desperate to ensure that if it did happen, we would ensure it was sold to quality care providers.
“I would like to reiterate that this decision is not a forgone conclusion. Last time we did this the consultation clearly said people wanted extra care, but not to shut two homes completely. So we changed the plans so we could ensure all homes stay open.”