TOWN Hall bosses will today announce plans to close Sheffield’s last council-run care home.
Some 22 elderly residents at Newton Grange care home - all aged in their 80s and 90s - have been told to find alternative accommodation in the private sector and 36 care workers face an uncertain future.
The centre, on Horner Close, Stocksbridge, will be demolished next June and replaced by a £5 million 50-flat sheltered housing complex, to be run by housing association group Sanctuary Housing.
The council is also planning to demolish Sweeney House on nearby Oxley Close, a 23-bed sheltered housing scheme run by Sheffield Homes.
The closure is part of a long-running council plan to move elderly care into the independent sector and treat more people in their own homes.
In 2003 the council ran 16 residential centres - but nine years later all have been shut or earmarked for closure.
Just last month councillors approved plans to close elderly care resource centres Sevenfields in Wisewood and Hazelhurst in Jordanthorpe - previously converted from residential care homes.
And they are currently consulting on the closures of dementia centres Bole Hill View in Crookes, Hurlfield View in Gleadless Common and Norbury in Fir Vale.
Eddie Sherwood, director of care and support at the council, said: “This is the last piece in the jigsaw.
“These homes were not meeting minimum standards.
“Newton Grange has been due for decommissioning since 2003. Now Sanctuary Housing has secured funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build modern facilities in its place.”
But the decision to close Newton Grange was criticised by the Unison and GMB unions, which represent the 36 staff members who could lose their jobs.
Unison organiser Jon Mordecai said: “This may be the final piece of the jigsaw in the council’s plan, but what image does that jigsaw show?
“It’s a picture of a city with less and less varied provision for elderly people.
“A growing proportion of people are elderly in this city and we have a requirement for good residential care.
“There will always be people unable to live in their own homes who need support.”
Sheffield GMB organiser Peter Davies said some Newton Grange workers now fearing for their jobs had previously been redeployed from the closing Hazelhurst and Sevenfields.
He said: “There is a crisis in care in this country which has been caused by short-sighted politicians, old and new.”
The council also announced plans to invest £875,000 into redeveloping Balfour House sheltered housing scheme, also on Horner Close.
Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for independent and healthy living, said Newton Grange residents would be assessed to find suitable alternative accommodation.
She said: “This is a massive opportunity to provide something really good for older people. Stocksbridge will feel the loss of Newton Grange but hopefully in the long-term it will see the rewards.”