COUNCILLORS will meet today to decide the future of two Stroud care homes that have been earmarked for closure.

Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will meet at County Hall in Gloucester at 10am today (Wednesday) to decide whether to approve the proposed closure of Southfield in Park Road, Stroud and Wyatt House in Mathews Way, Paganhill.

Conservative-led GCC says the closures are necessary because there are empty beds at each care home, the dementia facilities there are not good enough, and more and more people are choosing to be cared for at home.

But a number of residents of the care homes and their families are opposing the closure.

Linda Phillips', whose 98-year-old friend is a resident at Southfield, will hand a petition signed by more than 3,200 people to Green councillor Eva Ward at County Hall ahead of the cabinet meeting today. Mrs Phillips also plans to put a question to the cabinet ahead of their decision.

Stroud district councillor Chas Townley (Labour) is among those protesting against the closure of the homes, which are run by the Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) which, alongside social housing association bpha, makes up the Gloucestershire Care Partnership (GCP).

Cllr Townley said: “If these closures go ahead without any replacements there will be extremely limited capacity in the immediate vicinity of Stroud for publicly funded care clients, as some homes charge far in excess of council standard rates."

Domm Woodward, whose partner works at Wyatt House, wrote to the county council to ask exactly how many publicly-funded beds are available in Gloucestershire.

The council replied to Mr Woodward with the following: “We don’t currently keep this information as we commission from the private market and the homes also serve private individuals.”

Mr Woodward, of Barrowfield Road, Stroud, said: “They seem to be making decisions and advising families without truly knowing what availability there is."

Councillor John Marjoram (Green) brought up the issue at Thursday’s Stroud District Council meeting, and Cllr Steve Robinson (Lab), who is also a county councillor, replied: “There is some 77 places in Stroud where the elderly residents could go to. It is sad but there are issues with both homes. An individual is working with each family to find them an alternative place to live.”

Linda Phillips claims that her a 98-year-old friend at Southfield, for whom she has power of attorney, was denied the opportunity to sign the petition against the closure.

But a spokesman for OSJCT denied the allegation, saying: "We had to naturally check on this request due to resident capacity and capability and have a process in place. Therefore, we have said that residents, with full capacity and under the judgement of the home manager and the care leader are able to sign anything they wish to.”

Explaining the proposal to close the care homes, county councillor Roger Wilson (Con), cabinet member for adult social care commissioning, said: “Our priority will be to ensure every resident receives the best care and support through the transition. There are plenty of vacancies in homes in the Stroud district so if all residents want to stay in the area there will be enough space for everyone.

“We are spending more money to support older people in our county than ever before but we need to make sure that this money pays for high quality care and not for empty beds. We are also recommending that if any money is made from these two homes it will be ring fenced for older people in the future.”

Follow our live blog on the cabinet meeting today at