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Council To Close Towcester Care Home Despite Minister Objections

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has agreed to close Ridgeway House in Towcester despite opposition from local Conservative MP and Minister Andrea Leadsom.

The council said the home’s facilities were outdated and it would be too expensive to replace them.

The former Conservative leadership candidate and current minister for public health, start for life and primary care, had written to the council and launched a petition opposing the closure of the 40-year-old care home.

Dame Andrea said she had recently visited the care home, meeting the residents and “dedicated staff”, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

“Many of the residents have strong local ties and deep-rooted connections to Towcester, making the prospect of relocation a source of considerable distress,” she said.

The MP’s petition on her website said the “upgrades needed to the home for the next decade would require £1million of investment”.

But it said “that this could be good value relative to the cost of building a new care home”.

The council said its decision to close the home following a meeting on 16 January had followed a public consultation, including in-person meetings with care home residents, their relatives and staff to listen to their views on the proposals, as well as online feedback.

In its statement, the council said the care home no longer met the complex needs of its residents, and that the poor state of the building had contributed to its safety being rated Requires Improvement by the Care Quality Commission.

Councillor Matt Golby, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “We understand that this news may cause upset and worry for residents and their relatives and this is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Our priority is the safety of those we care for and being able to provide the right care for them, in the right environment both now and in the future.

“Working closely with residents and their families will be a core focus for our social work teams to ensure their new care home is the right one for them and their needs, reducing the likeliness of needing to secure alternative accommodation at short notice.

“This has been a difficult decision and after extensive review, this is the only viable option at this point and our focus must now be making sure all the residents find safe, suitable new places in the communities they belong in.”

Ms Leadsom had called for a postponement of the decision to allow the community to voice their views more comprehensively.

The former cabinet minister said over 335 people had signed her petition, almost double the council’s original consultation respondents, and called for assurances that no residents would be forcibly moved outside Towcester.

Ms Leadsom said: “Since initiating the petition to Save Ridgway House, I have been profoundly moved by conversations with residents and individuals with loved ones in the home. It is evident that some residents and their families are adamant about not wanting to leave Towcester. Therefore, it is imperative that West Northamptonshire Council provides assurances to those affected during this exceedingly challenging time for them.”