Eastbourne Tory leader hits out at ‘scaremongering’ over threatened care homes

Councillor Tony Freebody (Conservative Ratton)
Councillor Tony Freebody (Conservative Ratton)

The leader of the Eastbourne Conservatives has hit out at what he calls ‘scaremongering’ over the proposed closure of two care homes.

Milton Grange in Old Town and Firwood House, in Hampden Park, are to be considered for closure in plans for the county council to save funds.

Lib Dem councillors Alan Shuttleworth, Jonathan Dow and John Ungar are opposing the proposed closure of Milton Grange and Firwood House (Photo by Jon

Lib Dem councillors Alan Shuttleworth, Jonathan Dow and John Ungar are opposing the proposed closure of Milton Grange and Firwood House (Photo by Jon

The news has been met with outrage from residents, councillors, and the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd – and a petition against it has to date garnered almost 7,000 signatures.

But Tony Freebody of the borough council Conservative group says Liberal Democrats have been scaring people over the issue to ‘score political points’.

He said, “This proposal has caused concern in the town and Conservative borough councillors will be working with their county colleagues to make sure there is a thorough consultation and a clear vision on the future of these two homes, although I stress no decision has been made. Everyone values the services that these homes provide.

“However, I am very angry about the Liberal Democrat scaremongering tactics over this serious issue. As usual, they are trying to use the fears of vulnerable people who are worried about their care, plus the concerns of the homes’ dedicated staff, to score cheap political points.

“The fact is the County Council, just like the Lib Dem Borough Council, needs to make savings and it wishes to look at how services currently provided by these two homes could be delivered in the future more efficiently and possibly in an even better way more attuned to the needs of local residents.

“This doesn’t mean the service is gone, it just means it might be delivered in a different way. For example, the overwhelming majority of older people consistently say they would like to be cared for in their own homes and research studies agree.

“Of course, these facts don’t suit the Lib Dems who want to scare as many people as they can into believing that if these homes close there will be nothing but scorched earth in their place.

“This is absolute nonsense and I hope they stop playing politics with such a serious issue and start acting more responsibly towards vulnerable people in the town by giving them all the facts and not their political spin.”

The county council has proposed closing Milton Grange and Firwood House in its budget, which will be voted on by full council on February 6.

To view the original story click here and to see the latest county council response to the issue click here