A POLITICAL row has been sparked after Labour councillors raised concerns about the impact of care home closures on ‘vulnerable’ elderly residents.
But the Tory-controlled Cheshire West and Chester Council accused Labour of electioneering ‘by raising fears and causing distress’ among the elderly to gain votes.
The Conservative administration is building a 72-bedroomed centre at the former Woodfield Primary School site in Somerset Road, Newton.
But paying for the scheme means downgrading Lightfoot Lodge in Hoole to a day centre from September, with respite care residents transferred to Chester’s Curzon House and Ellesmere Port’s Sutton Beeches facility.
And these two centres will close when the new centre opens in spring 2012 at the earliest, subject to an ongoing public consultation.
Labour councillor Alex Tate, deputy adult and older people’s services spokesman said: “For those in residence, it is a major cause of distress to lose what is effectively their home and to be sent many miles away from friends and family and from all that is familiar to them.”
Conservative councillor Brenda Dowding, executive member for adult social care and health, pointed out the public consultation was not even completed and accused Labour of electioneering.
She said: “Raising fears and causing distress to vulnerable people is not in the best interests of anyone – except perhaps the Labour Party? It appears to me that Labour really is willing to use fear to gain votes, what a very sad state of affairs.”
She said her authority was addressing the situation that most existing centres have small bedrooms with no en suite facilities and poor community amenities.