Bid to keep Southampton care homes open fails

A BID to save two council care homes in Southampton from closure has been thrown out by a judge. The High Court rejected an application by residents of Whitehaven Lodge in Millbrook and Birch Lawn in Sholing for a judicial review of Southampton City Council’s decision.

Solicitors representing residents said that the result was expected and have appealed.

Campaigners claim that the council had not fully taken into account the health effects of moving the remaining 39 residents.

A medical expert concluded that the short life expectancy of one 95-year-old resident involved in the action was “likely to be reduced to a significant degree”.

The city council’s Tory Cabinet voted unanimously in favour of closing the two homes for the second time in June after putting the original decision on hold to consider the legal challenge.

It claims that there is a falling demand for residential care in the city, and that it could save £500,000 by using private homes instead.

Councillor Ivan White, Cabinet member for adult social care and health, said he regretted that the legal process had “caused not only a delay but a great deal of uncertainty to the residents”.

Since the decision to go ahead with the closures some residents have been moved to other care homes.

Birch Lawn currently has 18 permanent residents, with four people receiving respite care, while Whitehaven Lodge has 17 residents.

The council had hoped to close the homes by the end of the year, although Cllr White said that remaining residents would be moved to a home of their choice “within a timescale to suit them”.