CEREDIGION’S cabinet is “shackled to a dogma that doesn’t properly meet the needs of the people of the county” a campaigner said as a plan to sell a former care home is delayed because of coronavirus.
Corporate overview and scrutiny committee held a special meeting to discuss a decision to sell former care home Bodlondeb to social landlords within three months before putting it on the open market.
There are objections to the plan one of the main ones being it is not surplus to requirements but a much needed service.
Cllr Lyndon Lloyd, one of the signatories of the call in, said: “Whenever you close a home there needs to be a plan B, the plan B we were told when the debate was on about Bodlondeb was that there would be more community services and more EMI beds, and that hasn’t happened.
“Demand has increased but there’s no evidence at all that the service has increased.”
Cllr Lloyd also said the distance that patients were being sent for care, out of Ceredigion, were not acceptable.
North Ceredigion Forum for Elderly Care vice-chairman Lisa Francis address scrutiny and said until four weeks ago there had been a bid on the table which saw someone prepared to invest in the property and “transform it into mixed nursing care, including EMI beds.”
She added that there were seven EMI beds in the county, at a care home that could also close due to building integrity, but there were full with 15 people on the waiting list.
The forum, started by members of the Save Bodlondeb campaign group, calculated that if Abermad nursing home, in Aberystwyth, closed a further £600,000 would be spent out of county on care beds.
Mrs Francis said that the “fragility of the situation is not recognised by the cabinet.”
“Cabinet is shackled to a dogma that doesn’t properly meet the needs of our people,” she added.
Councillors were reminded of the timeline for the decision taken on Bodlondeb, with the proves starting in 2017.
Lead officer for economy and regeneration Russel Hughes-Pickering also outlined the biding process and the length of time it had taken, with one bid considered not compliant with the preferred options.
Chief executive Eifion Evans added that it had been a “long journey” which had followed what had been set out by members.
Cllr Ceredig Davies also reiterated there had been a lack of plan B as well as agreeing with Cllr Hag Harries that the “lack of audit trail” also raised concerns.
The committee went into private session to discuss financial matters relating to the property, with reference already being made to a cost of £17,000 to one bidder in preparing her plan, as well as a potential new build unit being planned by the council.
Cllr Dai Mason proposed selling Bodlondeb for six months because of the serious circumstances of coronavirus and then bring the matter back to healthier and corporate resources scrutiny committee.
Cllr Bryan Davies proposed following the cabinet decision but also to look for other parcels of land suitable for development for EMI beds and dementia care, this fell eight votes to six.
The committee voted in favour of Cllr Mason’s proposal to defer the sale.
Councillor Dai Mason called for any decision on the sale of Bodlondeb to be postponed due to the global pandemic and the need to support any elderly people affected.
“We need safe places to defend our elderly, it will be very unwise to sell a care home, they need a safe place today more than ever, he said, calling for the decision to be deferred for six months.
Cllr Bryan Davies asked if it would be suitable with chief executive Eifion Evans saying it had been empty for two years and “vacant buildings deteriorate very quickly.”
He added that the county had facilities – including potentially two universities – that could be used with costs to the authority to be revenue costs in ensuring “vulnerable individuals living in rural areas have plentiful supply of food and essentials, and how we will get to them.
“Revenue costs just to make sure we have got people on the ground to make sure we can support each other through this difficult crisis.”