Children’s home ‘not fit for purpose’ closes for good following council vote

Minster View, Southwell. (Picture: Google)
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

A Nottinghamshire children’s care home will close for good after councillors said it was “not fit for purpose”.

Minster View in Southwell shut in 2020 amid concerns around safety and staffing issues.

At the time, Nottinghamshire County Council said there were “no proposals to permanently close” the home.

But a vote on December 13 decided the home will be closed permanently after all – although some councillors voiced their concerns at the Children and Young People’s Committee and asked for more clarity on the issue.

Of the five children who lived at Minster View in November 2020, four were relocated to private homes and one was placed in another council-run home.

Cllr Michelle Welsh (Lab) said during the County Hall meeting: “You want us to vote for something where we don’t necessarily know how you’re going to deliver the care for those children once this is closed.

“That is quite hard for us to vote on when we don’t know where those children will be in the future.

“I feel there is not enough information in this report. It is vitally important given the history that we are very open about what happens in our care homes.

“I feel very uncomfortable in voting for this.”

It comes after reports show that almost £1.7m was spent on keeping Minster View closed during the last 12 months by sending the children to private placements instead.

But officers and councillors who backed the plans said that the home had an “institutional feel” and was “not fit for purpose”.

The council instead wants to close the home and open its own, smaller home in the county.

Cllr Keith Girling (Con) added: “Our primary concern is to make sure these children are safe.

“Covid has pushed out a lot of opportunities as well as challenges. It has given us the opportunity to look at the services we are providing.

“I wouldn’t want my disabled child to be in that facility no matter how good the service is.

“I have had officers look at the property to see what we could do with it. We will do a proper assessment and look at the best way to use it.”

Cllr Sinead Anderson (Con) said: “It was the view of senior officers at the time that it would’ve been unsafe to keep the home open.

“This was a very difficult decision to make and sadly resulted in five children being transitioned into alternative homes.

“The current building has an institutional feel at odds with the homely atmosphere children should experience.”

Steve Edwards, service director for youth, families and social work, said: “This time last year there were 14 staff off because of Covid.

“There were concerns about practice there. It wasn’t really safe for those five children to stay there.

“It wasn’t a decision which was made lightly. I feel really sorry for those children who had to move last year.

“Moving forward there is a chance for those children and future children to have even better support from the County Council.”

The plans were voted through by the committee on Monday (December 13).

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)