Southend: Two Care Homes Could Close

A consultation has started on plans which could see two care homes in Southend closed.

The Council there says it is becoming too expensive to run the Delaware House and Priory House care homes and have put forward a number of options for their future. 

There are 24 beds at Delaware House, with another 28 at Priory House which also has a day centre that supports 12 people.

The two sites employ around 110 people. 

Southend Borough Council says over the next 10 years, each facility will cost £1 million pounds a year to run while £1.8 million will also have to be spent on essential maintenance. 

It has come up with four options to be considered as part of the consultation: 

1) Continue as now, meaning nothing will change from the current situation; 

2) Alternative ownership, which would mean the care homes are sold to private care provider; 

3) Modernisation and re-provision using 3rd party funding, which could see investment from the private or charitable sector to re-vamp a site; 

4) The closure of one or both homes. 

Council officers have studied all the options and have said to the council the preferred options would be to modernise and re-provision Delaware House (option three) and close Priory House (option four). 

Councillor Lesley Salter is the portfolio holder for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing for Southend Borough Council. 

She has told Heart no decision has been made, despite officers highlighting a 'preferred option' but that it will be difficult to sustain the level of funding needed for the sites: "The buildings are 50+ years old and several things are beginning to fail at the same time that happen to be extremely expensive to put right. 

"We can't afford to let them get to a difficult situation because then the residents will be in trouble." 

At the moment the council funds around 600 people to live in private care homes in Southend. 

The council says it costs more than £400 per week to do this, while funding a place at a council-run home costs more than £700 per week. 

Councillor Salter says if people do have to move, they will make sure they get the best possible care: "We have another 600 Southend residents that are already being looked after in independent care homes. 

"They're our people, we're funding them. It's up to us to make sure the care they get is right. 

"There are 65 registered care homes in Southend, there are 200 spare care home beds in the borough so that's a fair bit of choice." 

The consultation is running from June 3, 2013 until September 1, 2013. The council says the earliest a decision will be made is in November. 

You can get more information and a copy of the consultation questions by emailing