Lone resident in 22-bed old people's home costs council £230,000 a year
A SOLE resident in an old folks' home is costing the city council £230,000 a year.
The unnamed woman has remained in the 22-bed Frank Cowl House in Devonport since the council decided in 2010 to close it down.
The remaining eight long-stay residents were offered places in the new Devonport Views extra care home, off Granby Way, last year.
A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said: "In line with the council's focus on reducing its reliance on traditional residential care through increased support to people at home and through extra care housing we have made no new admissions to Frank Cowl House in recent years.
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"Frank Cowl House is in an outdated building. In 2011 residents and their families were consulted about future care, Some of them told us they did not want to move.
"The council's policy is that no-one would be forced to move from their home.
"As the long-term plan was to decommission Frank Cowl House no further residents were placed in the home.
"Due to the current situation there is a care plan in place to ensure the remaining resident at Frank Cowl House is well looked after by care staff. Resources are being shared where possible across units and staff numbers are being reduced from the previous 11 full-time equivalents required.
"A consultation has been held with staff and unions and we are working on redeployment wherever possible."
The spokeswoman said: "The annual budget for Frank Cowl House, taking into account the changes, would be £230,000.
"The council is honouring a commitment made to residents that they would not be forced from their home and will continue to ensure that all the wishes of its clients throughout the service are treated with care and respect."
Councillor Susan McDonald, the city's Cabinet Member for adult social care, said the council had to balance the promise made to residents with the needs of a rising elderly population.
"A promise was given several years ago that no one would be forced to leave," she said.
"If that person considers Frank Cowl House their home and their family supports them, then I do feel we have an obligation to fulfil that.
"Balanced against that is the money that could go to help more people."
Cllr McDonald said costs had been reduced by shutting down rooms and making Frank Cowl House more like the woman's own home.
"There are some really great facilities in Devonport," she added. "But if that lady doesn't want to go, she ought not to be moved against her wishes."
In 2001 residents fought a council decision to close what was known then as Granby Way Residential Home.
The fight was led by Frank Cowl, who was then 80 and had been a resident for nine years. Mr Cowl died in 2002 and the house was renamed in his honour.
A member of staff at Frank Cowl House refused to answer any questions from The Herald yesterday.
EARLY 2001: Tory-led council agrees to close Granby Way Residential Home in a bid to save £450,000
November 2001: Court of Appeal forces local authority to reconsider after residents take fight to High Court
2003: Labour come to power and vow to keep home open, renaming it in memory of resident and campaigner Frank Cowl
2010: Conservative council again votes in favour of plans to close the home, along with Whitleigh House and the Welby Community Unit
2011: Remaining residents offered places at new Devonport Views home – but can opt to stay put