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VICTORY; OAPs can stay at care home after council U-turn.

Byline: BEN GOLDBY

A BLACK Country council which placed a care home housing some of Britain's oldest pensioners under threat of closure has done a dramatic U-turn to keep it open.

New Bradley Hall, which is home to three residents aged over 100, was placed at risk when Dudley Borough Council carried out a modernisation review of social care facilities.

In a front page exclusive the Sunday Mercury reported how Hilda Turner, 104, Honor Richards, 102, and 101-year-old Gladys May Walker were among 30 pensioners who feared they would be kicked out.

It sparked outrage in the community.

More than 5,000 people signed a petition against the closure and dozens rallied to attend public meetings.

And last week there was the good news they all wanted to hear. The home, in Kingswinford, was given a reprieve by Dudley councillors who announced its future was now secure.

Mac Scott, who led the campaign to save the care home, said the elderly community was "over the moon" and "delighted" that they would be able to stay in their home.

His mother-in-law Irene Claridge, 94, has lived at New Bradley Hall since 2008.

"We're absolutely over the moon," he said. "There's still the T's to be crossed and the I's to be dotted, but this is a fantastic result for us.

Thanks "We've got a lot to thank the Sunday Mercury for. The coverage really helped the campaign, and it's a historic win for the residents.

"We know the politics and the elections have played a part, but we're not bothered about any of that. We just wanted to save the home, and that's exactly what we've done."

With local elections coming up next month, Dudley Council leader, Councillor Les Jones (Conservative), spoke out on Thursday to say that the home would not be closed down.

The original decision to shut the site was made last year as part of a budget-cutting process. The council seemed to have backed down in November, but then put the home's future at risk again.

Campaigners fear for They announced a consultation exercise, which was due to be published next week, with several options on the table.

THREE YEAR But now Councillor Jones says the closure "is not going to happen under my administration" and FACE EVICTION THREE women aged over 100 are at risk of being evicted from their Midland care home.

Hilda Turner, who is 104 years old, H Rihd102 d101 EXCLUSIVE BY BEN GOLDBY 30ldlid hfbi of home added that he did not want the issue to be "a political football in the run-up to the elections".

FLASHBACK: story in Derrick Hemingsley, chairman of the Kingswinford Labour Party, said the move was a victory for "people power".

"You don't realise how powerful a protest can be until you see a U-turn like this," he said. "It is all down to the campaigners.

"The council was saying there was no money. Now they have had to find it because of the public outcry.

if care home is axed 100 "For them to come out and say that New Bradley Hall won't be closed is fantastic, but there are still a few options on the table - and it could just be kept on for the people who are there now.

OLDS THREATENED: New Bradley Hall in Dudley "That would be a shame. It should be kept open for good."

near Dudley because modernisation review. fighting to keep the fear some of the residents d b h Our March Mr Scott says elderly people at the home have had a weight lifted from their shoulders.

It was wonderful telling the residents about the decision," he said. "They know now that they can stay in what they see as their own home, with people who are like family to them."

ben.goldby@trinitymirror.com

CAPTION(S):

FLASHBACK: Our story in March CAMPAIGN: New Bradley Hall Care Home HISTORIC WIN: From left, Granville Cotterell 88, Nancy Homer 81, and Irene Claridge, 94, at New Bradley Hall
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2012
Words:668
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