COUNCIL chiefs have rubber-stamped the closure of five care homes.
Durham County Council’s cabinet members met on Wednesday and approved a recommendation to close Grampian House Care Home, in Grampian Drive, in Peterlee, as well as four others elsewhere in the county.
It comes after a consultation for the plans for closure late last year sparked numerous protests.
The Peterlee home has one permanent resident, 14 immediate care residents and nine people who use day services.
Civic chiefs have assured residents in the care facilities that their needs will be the main priority as changes take place.
They say work will now begin to develop a robust and detailed plan for the relocation of residents, with their needs, comfort and safety at the heart of the process.
Trimdon and Thornley Councillor Lucy Hovvels, the county council’s cabinet member for safer and healthier communities, said: “This was an extremely difficult decision for everyone and I would like to assure people that we have considered all of the feedback we received and all of the options available to us.
“There is no denying that people feel very strongly and we fully understand this.
“In coming to today’s decision, we have had to consider a wide range of factors in addition to the responses to the consultation.
“This includes the desire for people to stay in their own homes for longer, a fall in demand for residential care places, particularly in regard to our own care homes, the need for significant investment in the five properties, and the availability of suitable, lower cost accommodation within the independent sector as well as significant financial pressure due to government funding cuts.
“We now need to begin the process of planning the closures in a carefully managed way that takes full account of residents’ needs.”
A dedicated group of social workers and senior operational staff with extensive experience in supporting residential care moves will work with each resident and their family to draw up a detailed plan for their relocation.