Valleys residential homes’ closure brought forward

THE closure of two Valleys residential homes will begin within weeks after councillors opted not to give one a reprieve and brought forward the closure of the other by almost two years.

At a Blaenau Gwent executive committee meeting yesterday, councillors voted to close Tredegar’s Cartref Aneurin Bevan and Crawshay House in Brynmawr.

The recommendation had been to close Cartref Aneurin Bevan, followed by Crawshay House in spring 2012.

Instead, the closure of both will begin this month.

These closures form part of a 15-year plan for elderly people drawn up by the council in 2006 called ‘Living Independently in the 21st Century’ aimed at getting more elderly people living at home and in extra care sheltered housing.

These plans saw Hafod Dawel in Nantyglo close in 2007, followed by Ebbw Vale’s Plas y Coed, which is in the final stages of closure.

Councillors had hoped Cartref Aneurin Bevan would get a stay of execution after Labour and Independent councillors unanimously backed a motion tabled by Tredegar Central and West councillor Steve Thomas at a special care and inclusion scrutiny committee meeting to recommend postponing the closure of Cartref Aneurin Bevan and improve it as much as possible until Assembly funding is secured for a replacement.

There are 12 long-term vacancies in the two homes and Cartref Aneurin Bevan, which has 25 residents, needs £212,000 to refurbish and Crawshay House, home to 26 people, needs £81,000.

Executive member for social services, John Rogers, told the meeting keeping Cartref Aneurin Bevan open was “simply not feasible.”

He added: “We can’t get into the ball game of spending money on a home, apart from keeping it safe and clean, that simply is not fit for purpose.”

Residents will be encouraged by the council to move into new flats built under its £12 million Extra Care Sheltered Housing scheme, including 41 flats in Ebbw Vale opening in September, 45 flats currently under construction in Nantyglo and a round-the-clock care team.

The authority said it could not rule out compulsory redundancies for the 44 permanent and 44 part-time staff at Cartref Aneurin Bevan and 31 permanent staff at Crawshay House, but aims to re-deploy them.

Cllr Thomas said he was “bitterly disappointed” at the decision.