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Fears that temporary closure of Lyndhurst care home Cranleigh Paddock could become permanent

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CONCERNS have been raised that a dementia care home in Lyndhurst could shut forever after being temporarily closed by Hampshire County Council.

As reported in the A&T, residents at Cranleigh Paddock will move to alternative sites – with HCC blaming a mix of winter, the pandemic and vaccination rules, and “intense competition for staff”.

However, the council has denied suggestions that the move was a “prelude to permanent closure”.

HCC has previously announced plans to demolish the building and sell the site
HCC has previously announced plans to demolish the building and sell the site

It is thought there were 15 residents at the Calpe Avenue home, which can cater for up to 32.

Linda Kemp, whose father (98) has vascular dementia and has been living there for almost six years, told the A&T the news was “devastating”.

She said: “He is very settled there and considers it to be his home. I am extremely concerned as to how the proposed move to another care home will affect him at his time of life.”

Linda explained she found out about the proposed temporary closure after Cllr Edward Heron, who is county councillor for the area, announced the news on social media ahead of a “hastily arranged” meeting which gave families just one day’s notice.

She said: “At the meeting it was emphasised that at this stage the closure was deemed as being only temporary.

“However, in actual fact, although some of the staff may return if it reopens, none of the residents that have been sent away will be allowed to return, so using the word temporary does not soften the blow.

“As far as the residents and relatives are concerned, the closure will be permanent.”

Caroline Wilkins, a former Lyndhurst parish councillor, battled to save Cranleigh Paddock in 2014 after HCC announced plans to demolish the building and sell off the site for extra care-assisted living flats.

Following a five-month campaign, the home’s future was secured and the council pledged to make improvements.

She said: “If Cranleigh Paddock gets permanently closed the New Forest will lose a valuable facility that is very much needed. The Forest has a higher than average population of old people, which grows constantly with all the retirement developments that get built. The rates of dementia in the elderly are not decreasing at all."

An HCC spokesperson told the A&T: “Making a decision to close a home – albeit temporarily – is extremely difficult and not one the council has made lightly.

“Each person we care for is an individual and we fully understand that change can be difficult and unwelcome.

“However, the operational difficulties we and other local authorities across the country are facing cannot be underestimated and are occurring for a number of reasons, the introduction of compulsory Covid vaccinations for care home staff being one.

“Our decision to temporarily close is not a prelude to permanent closure. Hampshire is one of the very few local authority areas to own and operate its own network of residential and nursing homes – and we are extremely proud of these and the quality of care provided.”

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