Thursday, 03 September 2015

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Vicar in plea over future of Aspatria care home

The vicar of Aspatria has pleaded with Cumbria county councillors to keep open the town’s Park Lodge residential care home.

Clive Shaw photo
The Rev Clive Shaw

The council is proposing to close Park Lodge, along with Woodlands at Distington and Richmond Park, Workington.

A consultation closes next week and a final decision will be taken by the council’s ruling cabinet in March.

The Rev Clive Shaw used the council’s public participation procedure to address the cabinet yesterday.

He told councillors: “I do understand the policy issues set out in the consultation document and I understand the present financial constraints.

“But for the people most directly involved – residents and potential future residents – location carries more weight than the proposals assume.

“Aspatria is a close-knit community with a strong distinctive identity. It is a very settled community. It is not a suburb of Wigton or Maryport.

“The presence of Park Lodge means that people who can no longer manage to live independently can stay in their home town.

“Their next of kin can visit easily and often. It means that elderly neighbours and old acquaintances can pop in. This adds hugely to residents’ wellbeing.

“Residential care provides ongoing company for people who would otherwise live very solitary lives.”

Mr Shaw added: “I feel disappointed that the consultation document does not offer costed alternatives from which to choose. In effect it says, ‘This is our plan, if you don’t like it think of a better one’.

“If three homes have to be closed for two others to be refurbished, why can’t Park Lodge be one of those identified for investment? By its very location it meets a vital need.”

Council leader Eddie Martin stressed that no decision had been made.

He promised that Mr Shaw’s views would be taken into account.

Mr Martin said: “We take all consultations very seriously and analyse them very carefully.

“I have visited Park Lodge two or three times. It is an impressive place. But finance does not drive this. It’s about where we can give elderly people better care and how.

“Park Lodge cannot cope effectively with dementia residents. Elderly people who develop dementia would have to be moved. And there are quite a lot of people in Park Lodge who don’t come from the immediate area.

“We are not trying to close homes for the sake of it.”

More than 3,400 people have signed a petition against the closure of Park Lodge.



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