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Willow’s Edge will not close – but it might be sold with other council care homes

People power has won a victory for a Newbury care home, which was due to be closed by the council.

More than a thousand people responded to a public consultation which West Berkshire Council issued after announcing cost cutting measures to balance the books.

The council-run Willows Edge Care Home was on the chopping block.

Now it has been bundled with the council’s two other care homes, in the hope of attracting a private company to take them over.

“We are an outlier in having our homes and providing this service,” said Jeff Brooks, council leader.

“I believe there are providers out there. The hidden cost of care homes is quite extensive. We do not intend to close Willows Edge, but we do want to test the market.”

After the public consultation, nearly a thousand people also objected to reducing dog and litter bins to save cash – so the council put it back on the books.

In November the council said it was looking at a financial black hole of around £14m and listed a reduction in household waste recycling centre hours, less grass cutting, a trimming of bridge repairs, and fewer dog waste bins in the consultation budget cuts.

There were around £10m of cuts being planned.

The adult social care costs ‘restructure’ in council-run care homes will go up between 10 and 20 per cent should the proposals get ratified after the public consultation.

And there were moves at that time to close Willows Edge – one of its three homes – which is home to 37 people with dementia and based at Hutton Close.

But within hours, a petition to stop the closure was launched and gained more than 1,000 signatures within the first day.

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