CLAIMS that the closure of several North Devon day centres is a “done deal” have been refuted by Devon County Council.
Proposals are currently under consultation until March to close centres in South Molton, Ilfracombe, Bideford and Barnstaple.
But it has been suggested a Devon County Council budget meeting to be held on Thursday will see the decision made way before then.
The Journal last week spoke to a staff member from Oakwell day centre in Bickington who believed the closures were inevitable.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “It seems it is a foregone conclusion,” she said. “They are saying if people have needs they will still be provided for, but I cannot see how.”
North Devon councillor Rodney Cann has spoken out in support of keeping day centres open, particularly Oakwell which provides specialist dementia care.
He said: “Oakwell stands out from other DCC Care facilities under threat of closure in Devon. Its uniqueness is in the wide range of dementia services that it provides for the vulnerable and elderly who are most in need of specialist care in in North Devon.
“Closure of Oakwell would prove to be a false economy, providing only a short term saving with no acceptable and viable alternative offered to replace it within the locale. I would urge DCC to abandon any proposals for the closure of this care home.”
Mike Bomford, Devon County Council spokesman, said: “No decisions have been made about our current day centre proposals, and won’t be until after the consultation has concluded. The council’s budget is being discussed at a meeting of our full council this Thursday, where councillors will be asked to approve the proposed budget.
“By law all councils must set a credible budget indicating spending priorities by the end of February. Consultations on service changes regularly take place in tandem with the budget process.”