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Labour Council heartless in Kentish Road closure

November 16, 2017 12:35 PM
By Southampton Liberal Democrats

At their Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Labour councillors voted unanimously to close the Kentish Road Respite Centre, despite a hard-fought campaign on behalf of the centre's users. Labour councillors have even admitted that the closure is not about cost savings, with Councillor Payne (Cabinet Member for Housing and Adult Care) reported as saying he would shut the centre even if it saved no money.

Alexander Clifton-MelhuishLocal Liberal Democrat campaigner Alexander Clifton-Melhuish said:

"The Council has been trying to close the centre for three years. Yet throughout several consultations in this time, Labour have continued to miss the key part of why this centre means so much to its users: its heart.

"Campaigners insist it's the opportunity to socialise with other service users that makes Kentish Road so special, and the alternatives they've been offered fall far short.

"Labour have failed to listen to service users and respect their individual needs, and now that the Council is pressing ahead with the closure, some disabled residents will be without their much-treasured centre and its vital community."

Southampton Liberal Democrats support the principle of providing care that promotes independence, which the social services team have worked to offer users of Kentish Road. But this must be done in consultation with service users and this type of care isn't appropriate for, nor wanted by, everyone.

Alexander added:

"I'm extremely disappointed with the way that Labour have conducted their sham consultation, and call on them to truly listen to service users' needs. I am pleased that opposition councillors will be appealing this decision at scrutiny committee, and I hope that the legal challenge proposed by the service users can resolve this issue in a way the Council has clearly failed to do."