DEVON County Council has come under fire for its proposed closure of an Ilfracombe residential and day care centre.
One Burrow House day care user is “absolutely furious” about the possible closure and North Devon MP Nick Harvey has criticised the council’s plans for alternative care.
Devon County Council has put forward plans to shut the majority of its residential and day care centres, claiming they are under-used and not cost effective.
It insists alternative care would be provided for anyone eligible.
Terry Marriot attends day care sessions at Burrow House and claims the loss of the facility would result in its users “vegetating” at home.
Mr Marriot, who uses a wheelchair, was “absolutely furious” about the proposed closure.
He acknowledged the council was under pressure to make cuts but said: “They’re taking from the weakest people in society – the old and the young.
“It makes me very sad, what is the country coming to?”
Mr Marriot claimed there was no solid plan for providing alternative care in the event of the centre’s closure, adding: “Devon County Council has a moral, if not legal, responsibility to look after us.
“If Burrow House closes we’ll sit at home and vegetate.”
North Devon MP Nick Harvey expressed concern that Burrow House staff were banned from a meeting he attended at the centre last Friday.
He said: “I was disappointed to learn that the staff had been banned from the meeting – similar to the county council budget meeting, when our young people were forbidden from asking questions and raising concerns.”
Mr Harvey spoke to around 30 residents and family members at Burrow House.
“The major point that was raised to me was that the staff and residents are a family and have a strong bond of friendship,” he said.
“To take that away and move people would be detrimental to their emotional – and, in course, physical – wellbeing.”
Mr Harvey said he understood the council’s need to make cuts but added: “Some of the alternative suggestions given by the county council are not fit for purpose.”
DEVON County spokesman Mike Bomford said: “Any decision about Burrow House will only be made after the consultation has finished.
“Everyone eligible for the council’s support will continue to be supported, but with a range of other independent day services in the town and with many more within a short distance.
“The question is whether we provide it, or whether it is provided by other care providers.
“Thousands of people now have personal budgets enabling them to make their own choices about the day services they want.
“If they choose to attend a day centre, they will be helped to find the most suitable for their needs.
“Unless there are viable alternatives, we will not close Burrow House.
“The council has to save a further £110 million by 2017 due to significant reductions in Government funding.”