Chestnuts close despite council’s effort to support trustees

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Chestnuts close despite council’s effort to support trustees

Posted: 10/08/2011 14:52:53

Herefordshire Council has made every effort to support the trustees of The Chestnuts care home at Ross-on-Wye in a bid to prevent it closing.

The council was therefore “disappointed” when the trustees decided to close the home, but has been working with them to ensure suitable on-going care is found for all the residents who have now left the home.

Unfortunately, despite offers of support over recent months, the council has had to turn down the latest request from the trustees to fund personal liabilities as this would have been an inappropriate use of public money.

In a nutshell, the council has:

• Leased the building to the trustees for a peppercorn rent for nearly 20 years

• Made a generous offer which would have allowed the trustees to lease the building from the council for a quarter of what it could get if it charged the full commercial rent

• Tried to meet a series of demands from the trustees but reached stalemate when the trustees demanded a new long lease on a peppercorn rent for an unspecified period

“This would not be acceptable as the council would effectively be subsidising the care home, distorting the market in Ross-on-Wye, and financially propping up a private company with public money,” said the leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr John Jarvis.

He added that the council was aware that financially it would be difficult to bring the Chestnuts up to the standards the Care Quality Commission would demand in a modern care home. This, in addition to the changing face of care provision in the UK - a move to provide care and support packages to enable people to live independently at home - makes running a care home like the Chestnuts in the traditional way it has been run, very difficult.

“We’re desperately sorry with the trustees’ decision to close The Chestnuts, but genuinely believe we have done all we can to help them,” added Cllr Jarvis.

“Their latest request to the council to fund liabilities was not acceptable, nor would it have been an appropriate use of public money. Our priority has been firstly to ensure that the on-going care needs of residents are met, and then to support relatives of residents and staff at the home,” added Cllr Jarvis.

Local MP Jesse Norman has been in dialogue with Herefordshire Council and with the trustees to help to support them through this difficult time.

Herefordshire Council can confirm it is still in discussions with other care providers regarding the future of The Chestnuts and is seeking to ensure that if someone takes it on, that they provide the right kind of care and support for the people of Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding area.

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