Council staffing empty Glendale House care home

A COUNCIL facing cutbacks of more than £100m has come under fire for staffing an empty care home.

Durham County Council is paying staff to work at Glendale House, in Blackhall, County Durham, despite its last resident having moved out nearly a month ago.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said: “Everybody’s fed up. It’s a waste of money.”

Durham county councillors voted to close seven homes last July, with council leader Simon Henig saying a £35m bill to bring them up to modern standards was unaffordable.

Two have since shut and the remaining five will close by the end of next month.

Glendale House now provides day care only, but staff are still working nights and weekends – and the council expects this to continue for another month.

A spokeswoman declined to state how much the situation is costing taxpayers.

But Councillor Alan Cox, who fought to save Glendale House, said: “It seems ironic and difficult to understand when places like Glendale are closing on grounds of finance that the council is keeping it open even though there’s nobody there.”

Lesley Jeavons, head of adult care at the county council, said the council’s priority was to provide a service for residents which did not compromise on quality or safety.

She said: “Although Glendale House is now only serving day centre users, a limited and reduced staff provision is still required at night and during weekends.

“This is only a short-term arrangement and is necessary to ensure continuity of service and maintain the security of the property while we complete the process of closing it.

“Staff at the home have been issued with dates for their final day of employment and should have left the home by the middle of February.”

Manor House, Annfield Plain, and East Green, West Auckland, have closed. Lynwood House, Lanchester, and Hackworth House, Shildon, are due to shut by the end of this month and Glendale House, Shafto House, Newton Aycliffe, and Stanfield House, Stanley, are to close next month.

Last summer, the homes looked after more than 100 elderly people. There are now only seven people left – six in Stanfield and one in Shafto.

The county council faces having to save £114.6m by 2015 and is planning to axe 1,600 jobs.