Protests Rejected As Leicestershire Care Homes Sale Is Agreed

The protests of thousands of people have been rejected by council bosses, who have agreed to sell-off six care homes.

County councillor David Sprason said the decision was not made “with regret” because it would lead to improvements in the lives of residents.

The plan to transfer the six homes to the private sector was pushed through by 30 votes to 21 at a meeting of the full council yesterday.

More than 11,000 people had signed petitions against the move in the past four months – but their views were not enough to change the council’s mind.

Homes will now be placed on the open market, but staff and residents will be able to stay.

More than 30 businesses have already expressed an interest in buying the homes.

Coun Sprason said: “The proposal to move forward this way shows our commitment to the staff and residents of these homes.

“This is not made with regret. We have to move forward. We cannot stay as we are.

“There were no other viable options put on the table, and now we can improve and add to our services.”

Council leader David Parsons said: “We would have been asking taxpayers to put their hands in their pockets more and more to keep public facilities open. I want to explore the options.”

County Hall currently owns 10 care homes.

Previously it had looked at plans to sell off two homes and move staff and residents out, but performed a U-turn because of public anger.

The six homes set for transfer are Catherine Dalley House, Melton; Hadrian House, Thurmaston; Huntingdon Court, Loughborough; Harvey House, Barwell; Kirby House, Kirby Muxloe; and Woodmarket House, Lutterworth.

The remaining homes – Lenthall House, Market Harborough; Curtis Weston House, Wigston; The Limes, Hinckley; and Tillson House, Coalville – would provide specialist support, such as dementia care.

Opposition councillors say the decision will reduce quality of care and make life difficult for staff, but County Hall’s ruling Conservatives say savings and cash made from the sales will help them provide more extra care schemes.

These are sheltered housing units where residents live in their own flat or bungalow, but with 24-hour care.

Opposition leader Coun Matthew O’Callaghan said: “Make no mistake about it, this is the end of over 50 years of Leicestershire County Council caring for the elderly in residential care homes.

“This isn’t about extra care, it’s about don’t care. It’s just another part of the Conservatives’ attack on the elderly.

“The message is clear, don’t grow old in Leicestershire.”

Liberal Democrat leader Simon Galton said: “You may win the vote but you have not won the argument.

“The public are telling you plainly that they do not want this.”

Councillor Alan Bailey, Lib Dem spokesman on adult social care, said after the council meeting: “It’s very disappointing.

“The Conservatives at County Hall have voted this through having completely disregarded the strong views in the consultation against selling the six homes.”