Plymouth council closing learning disability Welby unit

The closure of a centre for people with learning disabilities in Devon has been approved.

Plymouth City Council accepted a recommendation to close the Welby Unit in Peverell.

The authority said the Victorian building was outdated and not fit for purpose.

Services will be transferred from Welby to the Colwill in Estover, which is to be expanded.

Jan Halifax, whose 31-year-old daughter Emma has attended Welby for respite care over the past two years, said she was "devastated" by the council's decision.

'More choice'

She said it was a "cost-cutting measure" which would not benefit the people or families who use the service.

"It all boils down to expense because the Care Quality Commission actually rated Welby and Colwill the same," she told BBC News.

The Colwill unit was purpose-built for wheelchair users, but was not necessarily suitable for adults with other needs, Ms Halifax added.

The council, however, said its changes to adult social care were designed to offer services more tailored to the needs of individuals.

It said the way in which respite breaks were offered had to be changed in light of national policies which emphasised the need to support people's independence and offer more choice and control.

Work to expand services at Colwill should be completed by next summer, allowing it to offer an increased number of beds for short respite breaks, it added.

Grant Monahan, cabinet member for the council's adult health and social care said: "We recognise people are worried about their future care but we will work with service users and their carers to ensure a service is in place for them when Welby is closed."

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