Plans by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to effectively close the Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings Old Town will be challenged by the borough council when it meets next week.
A motion proposed by Councillor Tania Charman and seconded by Councillor Dany Louise expresses concerns that the decision made by ESCC’s cabinet at its meting on June 26th not to recommission the care provision provided at the Isabel Blackman Centre will mean the closure of a “vital centrally located service” with the consequent loss of two jobs from the beginning of April next year.
The motion going before council says: “We are deeply concerned about the effect this will have on the vulnerable elderly people from across the borough who use the Isabel Blackman Centre, who may, as a result, be put at risk of isolation, depression and other health issues.
“ESCC promises to replace this service with ‘like for like’ alternative provision. However we have not seen any detail of how this will be achieved, and are not confident this will be guaranteed on current evidence.
“We therefore request that the decision is brought back to ESCC Cabinet on the basis that: Full costings on redundancy and legal obligation for the redundancy costs is provided; the cost savings in transferring the asset to another provider are identified and the design and commissions for approval of like-for-like service proposals are worked up within the nine month timeframe.
“We ask the ESCC leader and director of Adult Social Care to commit to meeting the substantial care and social needs of our existing and new clients as a county priority. We also request that the leader of Hastings Borough Council writes to the chair of ESCC, the Director of Adult Social Care, and to Amber Rudd MP (asking that ESCC): …fulfil its promises in respect of like-for-like replacement provision; respects the convenants on the Isabel Blackman Centre building; commissions local providers for future services and works closely and transparently with the Isabel Blackman Foundation and local councillors to fully involve them in the commissioning of new services.”
The motion will be proposed and debated when Hastings Borough Council meets in full next Wednesday evening.