SEVEN care homes in Hampshire will be closing down despite worried family members saying it will reduce the life expectancy of their loved ones.

Bishops Waltham House and Green Meadows in Denmead are among those to be shut in the coming months after Hampshire County Council made its final decision on Thursday, February 8.

Consequently, no new residents will be admitted to Bishops Waltham House, Green Meadows, Solent Mead, Emsworth House, Oakridge House in Basingstoke or Ticehurst in Aldershot.

Winchester nursing home, Westholme in Harestock Road will also close once a new facility at Cornerways, in Kings Worthy, is opened.

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The £173m plan to “transform and expand the future of nursing and specialist care accommodation” over five to six years will finally go ahead after the county council takes the ultimate decision to close the residential and nursing homes despite residents’ and families’ opposition.

Bishop’s Waltham House and Green Meadows will be closing within the next six to 12 months, while Cranleigh Paddock in Lyndhurst and Copper Beeches in Andover, which were temporarily closed at the end of November 2021 due to “operational resilience reasons” have shut with immediate effect.

Hampshire Chronicle: Bishop's Waltham HouseBishop's Waltham House (Image: Google Maps)

The council said the project, which will see three new homes built and major works to another three, will increase the overall number of local authority beds from just over 900 to around 1,000.

However, the public consultation carried out in September for 10 weeks showed strong opposition to the proposed closure of Bishops Waltham House, Green Meadows and Solent Mead.

At the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee in January, relatives urged the council not to close the houses and to look at the impact on lives and the needs of every one of the 77 residents across Hampshire.

Anita Barry, daughter of an 86-year-old resident of Bishop Waltham with dementia, said that her mum wanted to stay where she is, which is her home.

“Moving residents from another home can only reduce their life expectancy for people like my mum. How would you feel if your relative faced the situation?”

The county council said that residents impacted by the closure will have a dedicated social care professional assigned to their care who will be able to help guide residents and their families through the process.

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Executive lead member for adult social care and public health, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, said that despite the council being “extremely proud“ of its care homes and the quality of care provided, the buildings are “far from ideal”.

She said: “Small rooms, limited space for essential equipment, and no ensuite facilities. This is not the way we want to deliver care in the future and why things need to change so that we can offer people support with the maximum dignity possible.”

Cllr Fairhurst confirmed the approval and, by doing so, “acknowledged” the personal impact on residents, families and staff of all care homes, specifically those at Bishop’s Waltham House, Green Meadows and Solent Meade.

She said: “Please be assured that our adult social care service has considerable expertise and experience in working closely with families to support care homes in a considerate, careful and empathetic way.”