Crunch meeting over County Durham care home closures

Care closure protest
Image caption Relatives of residents have urged councillors to rethink the closure plans

Controlling Labour councillors are to make their decision on the future of seven council-run care homes in County Durham faced with closure.

Durham County Council says the homes in Lanchester, Bishop Auckland, Stanley, Blackhall, Annfield Plain, Newton Aycliffe and Shildon are too expensive.

The result of the private meeting will be put to a full meeting of the authority later this month.

Relatives of residents have urged the council not to close the sites.

A recent report said the long-term cost of bringing council-owned homes up to recognised standards would be more than £30m.

But opponents claim many of the residents are too infirm to be moved to other establishments.

'Forced move'

Labour leader Simon Henig said: "The council's cabinet started this process and I expect the final decision will be made by formal council meeting later in July."

Anne Dryden, whose 92-year-old mother Emiline Dunn is a resident of Shafto House in Newton Aycliffe, said a forced move would be devastating.

She said: "My mother has a failing memory and we have tried to keep the situation from her.

"But with all the publicity we have had to tell her, but she doesn't really understand why they want to move her out.

"I dare not think about what will happen to her if we have to move."

Relatives have lobbied previous council meetings and collected more than 3,000 names on a petition urging the authority to keep the homes open.

Closure is proposed for Manor House, Annfield Plain; Glendale House, Blackhall; Lynwood House, Lanchester; Shafto House, Newton Aycliffe; Hackworth House, Shildon; Stanfield House, Stanley; and East Green, Bishop Auckland.

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