Families fume over Melbourn care home closure

District Cllr Jose Hales, District Cllr Val Barrett and County Cllr Susan van de Ven.

District Cllr Jose Hales, District Cllr Val Barrett and County Cllr Susan van de Ven. - Credit: Archant

The decision to close a care home in Melbourn has left the residents facing complete upheaval, according to a concerned councillor.

People living at Southwell Court and their families were given the news by members of the Metropolitan group – the London-based housing association which owns and manages the home – at a meeting on Friday.

The 35-room facility, one of two care homes in the village, is home to 20 elderly people, including Lee Anne West’s 94-year-old father-in-law, Don, who has lived at the home for 21/2 years.

Lee Anne said: “All the families that I have spoken with are shocked, upset, angry and disappointed that the safe and familiar place that our elderly relatives have called home is to be closed and pulled down.

“Our elderly family members are feeling a great deal of anxiety and apprehension at what will happen to them and they dread being separated from each other and the carers who have faithfully looked after them.”

District councillor Jose Hales, who represents the Melbourn ward, said: “The vulnerability of the residents is all too well known, the dangers of moving people to another home can sometimes be in these circumstances, catastrophic.

“These people came to Southwell Court to see out their lives in dignity, not to face complete upheaval and uncertainty at a vulnerable time in their lives.

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“We feel as if part of our community is about to be ripped out and Metropolitan needs to be accountable and show a duty of care to its residents.

“Then we have the issue of the staff who will now all be out of work. What a waste of skills that for so long have cared for our elderly family members.

“This very distressing news of the sudden closure of Southwell Court was a complete surprise, as we understand there hasn’t been the slightest whisper or indication of this decision previously.”

A Metropolitan spokesmen said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close Southwell Court because we are concerned about its long-term viability. The home has been under-occupied for some time and the building requires substantial investment to bring it up to standard for the long-term. This would not only be costly but very disruptive to residents.

“Our priority now is to work closely with Cambridgeshire County Council and the residents to ensure a smooth transition to alternative residential care places.

“We appreciate that this is a difficult time for residents and their families and have reassured them that the home will continue to operate until suitable accommodation is found for everyone.”