Mount Denys consultation was ‘flawed’

A CONSULTATION period aimed at helping to decide the future of a care home in Hastings was seriously flawed it has been claimed.

The future of Mount Denys care home, the adjacent Pinehill Centre and the Isabel Blackman Centre have all been under scrutiny as part of a county council bid to save £27.8million on adult social care. A four month consultation period for has been under way since early July. A review of Pine Hill and the IB Centre will conclude in December whether to develop, close down or leave them as they are.

On Tuesday, East Sussex County Council cabinet will decide whether to approve the recommendations. However county councillors representing Hastings claim the consultation period was not thorough enough and are angry that members who may have no ties to Hastings are making decisions which do not affect them.They are strongly opposed to any changes and threatening to call the item in for closer scrutiny.

Cllr Michael Wincott, who represents the area where Mount Denys is located, said: “It is the wrong closure at the wrong time. They must see sense, stand up for the residents and staff and save our care home. If they vote to close it, the Labour opposition will seek to call in this decision as we believe it will have been made without full knowledge or appreciation of the facts. We believe it is seriously flawed.”

In recent months care centre staff, unions and the local Labour volunteers have been staffing stalls and collecting thousands of signatures as well as organising a public meeting at the White Rock Hotel.

County councillor Trevor Webb, Labour’s spokesperson on adult social care, said, “Councillors who live outside of Hastings should not be able to close services that will impact present and future residents of our town. Thousands of people have signed our petition and shown they want the county to continue providing care at Mount Denys. The cabinet must reject this plan.”

Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings, said: “Not a single one of the thousands of people who I have spoken to has been satisfied with the consultation.”

Keith Hinkley, director of adult social care, said: “The consultation was thorough and comprehensive. It involved residents, relatives and carers and local councillors were offered the opportunity to contribute alongside voluntary organisations. All the responses to the consultation will be made available to members when they consider the proposal to close Mount Denys. This has been a thorough and wide-reaching consultation process.”