Wait goes on for residents at South Shields care home facing closure threat

Protestors against the closure of Oakdale Lodge, led by John Rutherford, front, with Sheila and Kim Hollern
Protestors against the closure of Oakdale Lodge, led by John Rutherford, front, with Sheila and Kim Hollern

RESIDENTS at a South Tyneside care home which has been facing the axe for more than three months say they are ‘back at square one’ as they anxiously wait for answers over its future.

Families of elderly residents in Oakdale Lodge, in Stanley Street, South Shields, were told that the care home was under review in February after the landlord of the building entered talks to sell it off.

The staff have been brilliant but they need to know what the future holds soon.

John Rutherford

A protest against the possible closure of the site, which is home to 30 residents, was held in March.

The building landlord Andrew Lapping, managing director of the Glasgow-based property investment firm Hamilton Portfolio Ltd, said at the time that talks over a potential sale of the site to nearby Lidl had started 12 months ago and were at an early stage.

He said he was considering the sale as the firm he rented the building to, Executive Care, had gone into administration and been bought out by investment firm, Monarch. and he was unsure of its plans for the home.

Monarch has now appointed Orchard Care Homes to manage its portfolio of 25 care homes, including Oakdale Lodge.

John Rutherford, 58, whose father Jack, 80, lives at Oakdale, says he is hopeful the appointment of Orchard will lead to a permanent home, either at the current site or within the town, to be secured.

Mr Rutherford said: “We are back at square one at the moment. Orchard has been appointed by Monarch to operate the home and we have been told it is trying to buy the building from the landlord, but the decision will be his.

“The staff have been brilliant but they need to know what the future holds soon, as they will all have bills to pay.”

No one from Orchard Care Homes was available for comment.

Closure Concerns

Families of the residents, the majority of whom suffer from dementia, held a placard-carrying demonstration against the possible closure plan, while petitions with more than 3,000 signatures were also launched.

Those with loved ones living at Oakdale Lodge were invited to a meeting in February after being told the future of the home was under review.