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Plans for new Suffolk care homes are approved

Place Court in Haverhill.

Place Court in Haverhill.

 

Plans to hand over care homes in Suffolk to a private company – including Place Court in Haverhill – have been approved by the county council.

Plans to hand over care homes in Suffolk to a private company – including Place Court in Haverhill – have been approved by the county council.

The council’s scrutiny committee last week endorsed the decision taken by the cabinet on October 16 to transfer the service to Care UK.

The care provider will now invest £60 million in replacing 16 care homes and ten wellbeing centres across Suffolk.

A replacement for Place Court will be built on the site of Chalkstone Middle School, with work starting next June and the home, with 60 beds, opening in June 2014.

Place Court would then close in July.

The decision had been ‘called in’ by six opposition councillors, so the transfer stalled as members of the scrutiny committee heard the reasons for it being ‘called in’ from council officers and their commercial advisors, but having heard evidence the committee decided to refer the decision back to the cabinet, whose decision was upheld.

Cllr Colin Hart, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “The majority of the committee was not convinced by the ‘call in’ argument that the information available to the cabinet when they took their decision was inadequate.”

Haverhill’s labour party has opposed the privatisation, starting a petition to keep the home run by the county council that got more than 5,000 signatures.

Cllr Maureen Byrne also attacked the county council’s decision to gift the land to Care UK, saying the council had ‘stolen the silver of Haverhill’.

The council is giving away land at eight sites for the new homes worth £9.2 million – including the Chalkstone site valued at £0.9 million.

However, this results in the cost of the contract falling from £642 per bed per week to £600 – a total saving of £17.8 million.

Furthermore, 13 sites – including Place Court , worth £0.3 million – will be given back to the council in three and a half years once the new homes are built, recouping £5 million.

That works out as a net saving for the council of £16.6 million.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 15) Echo.

 

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