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Chaos over ‘saved’ respite care centre

Confusion reigns over the future of an Oswaldtwistle respite centre – after an apparent conflict between Lancashire County Council and Hyndburn Council.

Hargreaves House

Confusion reigns over the future of an Oswaldtwistle respite centre – after an apparent conflict between Lancashire County Council and Hyndburn Council.

County hall chiefs announced the centre was one of eight facilities which might close under cost saving measures, last month. But during Wednesday night’s Hyndburn Council meeting, Mayor Coun Malcolm Pritchard announced Hargreaves House, on Thwaites Road, was to remain open.

Coun Pritchard said: "I have news from County Hall that Hargreaves House is not shutting down. They are talking about knocking it down but they are going to build a purpose built facility in its place."

Councillors expressed their delight at the surprise news.

But on Thursday Lancashire County Council (LCC) sources directly contradicted this.

Louise Taylor, director for specialist and direct delivery services, said: "At the moment we are not in a position to comment on the future of any individual home.

"We are in the early stages of modernising our overnight break services for children with disabilities and this will involve extensive consultation with parents and carers."

Coun Pritchard has since told the Observer that he stands by the announcement he made at the meeting.

Hargreaves House cares for disabled young people, including those with challenging behaviour.

County hall chiefs believe their respite centres are running under capacity. Several of the 40 families who use the centre were in the public gallery during the council meeting when the announcement was made.

They have now been left wondering what is going on.

Marie Kirk was ejected from an county council meeting last month after protesting about the proposed closure.

She said: "Nobody at LCC is telling us anything and we want some answers. It isn’t fair on us that this information is being handled the way it is."

Pam McCullagh’s son Matthew suffers from Angelman Syndrome – a genetic disorder which means he can never live independently and needs 24-hour care.

Pam, of Burnley Road, Accrington said: "I couldn’t attend the meeting myself but several of the other parents did and called me with the news that it was staying open after the meeting.

"It is fantastic news if it doesn’t close but we want some assurances this is the case before we set our hopes on it."

 
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