Eastbourne council boss weighs in on care homes debate as petition receives almost 10,000 signatures

Hundreds turned out to protest the planned closures earlier this month
Hundreds turned out to protest the planned closures earlier this month

Eastbourne’s council leader has called plans to close two of the town’s care homes ‘an absolute disgrace’ as he handed in petitions to County Hall.

Borough Council Leader David Tutt has slammed the county council (ESCC) for its cost-cutting proposals to shut down Milton Grange and Firwood House.

David Tutt handingin the petitions at County Hall

David Tutt handingin the petitions at County Hall

A petition against the closes launched by Eastbourne resident Maria Galt has to date garnered more than 9,700 signatures – well above the 5,000 needed for a debate by county councillors.

A further thousand signatures collected by the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd were presented by councillor Tutt to the ESCC Chairman, councillor Michael Ensor. The issue will now be debated by full council in May.

Councillor Tutt, who is also leader of the Liberal Democrat county opposition group, said, “These services are vital for preventing bed-blocking at our local hospital and ensuring the highest-quality care for residents of Eastbourne and beyond.

“It is an absolute disgrace that the Tories at County Hall would even consider closing these services. I am calling on the two leading Eastbourne Conservative County Councillors, Colin Belsey and David Elkin, to step up on behalf of our town before is too late.”

He went on, “By formally presenting these petitions today, to go with the almost ten thousand on Change.org, we are calling on the council to think again and save Milton Grange and Firwood House!”

East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet announced the proposed closures of the two care homes in its budget in January.

Councillor Tutt originally put forward an alternative budget which would have saved the homes and other vital resources by finding savings within the council’s bureaucracy. Their proposal was voted down by the Conservative group with the support of Labour councillors.

To read more about this story, click here or here.

And to view the petition, click here.