A residential care home threatened with closure will be sold off after councillors revealed they are unable to afford its running costs and £750,000 of renovation work.
Campaigners who have fought for two years to save New Bradley Hall care home in Kingswinford today said they had hoped it would stay under council control.
Dudley Council’s adult services boss, Councillor Dave Branwood, said inviting tenders to run the care home, in Kingswinford, was the only way forward. The authority will invite tenders from not-for-profit organisations or social enterprise groups.
He claimed the decision removed the ‘uncertainty’ for residents and staff by guaranteeing a future for the care home.
Around 40 staff work at the home and the council say permanent staff jobs would be protected when they are transferred to the new operator. In total, 20 elderly residents live at New Bradley Hall with some beds for respite patients. But it will be sold for use as a long-term residential home.
Dudley Council refused to reveal the price it would be marketed for, saying it would be ‘commercially sensitive’.
But Councillor Branwood vowed not to sell to a private firm which may choose to close it and redevelop the site and said legal covenants would be inserted to ensure the site was used as a residential home.
Councillor Branwood said the council had listened to more than 5,000 people who had signed a petition demanding the home stay open. “The people living and working at New Bradley Hall are at the heart of these proposals,” he said.
“They have lived under the cloud of uncertainty for too long and we need to bring this to an end.”
However, campaign group leader Mac Scott said they had wanted the home to stay under council control.
“It is a quick fix and a quick way to resolve their responsibilities when in fact they are still selling off the home,” he said.
“The fact is despite saying they would consult with us we were only invited to one meeting and today they have turned around after telling us nothing for months and said: ‘here you go, take it or leave it’.
The proposals will go through a staff tendering process. The council aims to transfer the 31-bed home to the new organisation before the end of March.