The decision to close four county care homes has prompted “extreme concern” from opposition.

Gloucestershire County Council agreed to close four care homes built in the 1970s managed by the Gloucestershire Care Prtnership at a cabinet meeting last Thursday, June 22.

Orchard House in Bishops Cleeve is among those set to close, along with Gloucester’s Bohanam House, The Elms in Stonehouse, and Westbury Court in the Forest of Dean.

In total, 80 residents will have to find new places to live.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jeremy Hilton, party spokesperson for Public Protection and Adult Social Care, has questioned why the council had not taken more notice of the 2,000 people who petitioned against the closure.

“We are extremely concerned about Cabinet’s decision to close the four homes,” said Councillor Hilton.

“More than 2,000 residents, family members and staff petitioned against these care home closures yet this, along with all the consultation feedback, has counted for nothing.”

He accused the council’s ruling Conservative party of making the decision as part of a policy of “pulling out of public sector provision” in favour of privately run homes.

Councillor Hilton added: “It became clear, under questioning, that the Cabinet’s decision was led by a desire to protect the private market, at a cost to our publicly run homes. 

“This comes in spite of the consistently high occupancy of all four care homes prior to the pandemic and the good ratings from the Care Quality Commission.”

He continued: “It is a continuation of this administration’s history of pulling out of public sector provision, which will eventually make us completely reliant upon privately run homes. 

“We should be using our public sector homes to drive up standards across the market of care, not simply rolling over and allowing the privately run businesses to run us out of town.”

Councillor Hilton stated that the decision to close the homes had been taken at the council meeting in less than 30 minutes.