Cambridgeshire

Peterborough care homes closure 'too distressing', says relative

A woman has said she would rather her mother "slip away in her sleep" than move from one of two Peterborough council care homes due to close.

Cabinet members at the Conservative-led city council decided on Monday to close Greenwood House and Welland House.

Carol Payne said her mother would be "too distressed" to leave Welland.

Council leader Marco Cereste said no-one would be moved without "suitable alternatives". Opposition members want the council to reconsider the plans.

The last two council-run homes in the city have 32 permanent residents, plus respite and day care users, and employ 184 staff.

'Every sympathy'

However, the council believes closing them could save it £146,000 a month and cabinet members voted unanimously for the closures.

Independent councillor David Harrington said the decision needed to be reconsidered in the face of "overwhelming public support for the care facilities to remain within the council's control".

More than 6,000 people signed petitions calling for the homes to remain open.

Greenwood House is expected to close at the end of the month and Welland House by the end of February.

Mrs Payne said: "We all hope that if it does happen, mum will perhaps go to sleep and we won't have to move her then.

"It's an awful thing to wish on anybody but mum's going to be so distressed, totally distressed."

Mr Cereste said: "I have every sympathy but I do believe this can be done sensitively and with understanding.

"I definitely feel we've been fair and democratic. I have to say it's probably the worst decision I've ever had to take in my life and I'm sure that applies to the rest of the cabinet."

He said the decision was necessary because of budget cuts.

"We gave an undertaking that unless they find suitable alternative accommodation - and we will help them do so - no-one's going to be forced out," he added.

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