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Conversion plan for care home closed due to staffing ‘crisis’

The owners of a former residential home in Sandbach, who plan to convert it into four dwellings, have said the reason for its closure was a “staffing crisis” and that the decision was “devastating”.

Robert Shaw and Sally Bissett are seeking planning permission to redevelop the former Brantwood Residential Care Home on Congleton Road.

In their application to Cheshire East Council they said the development would “enhance the outlook of the area and particularly improve the view for the residential properties surrounding the site”.

But a letter included with the application outlined how the decision to close Brantwood as a care home was one they were forced to make, having tried unsuccessfully to recruit staff over a long period, a situation they said had been repeated throughout the care industry.

Mr Shaw and Ms Bissett said: “We spoke with the Care Quality Commission about the staffing crisis; sadly, it was not able to offer any suggestions, having had many care homes contacting it with the same issues.”

Staff vacancies were advertised online in August and a large banner was placed directly outside the home advertising the job vacancies.

Out of just three people who responded, one failed to turn up for interview, another decided the home was too small and the third accepted the job offer “only to leave after four weeks having decided she didn’t like working with old people,” they said.

At the end of October another full-time member of staff resigned.

They explained in their letter: “Sadly, this was the final straw. After many, many discussions between ourselves and our team members, Mr Shaw came to the conclusion that we would no longer be able to offer clients the service and safety that they are clearly entitled to.”

The staff were informed of the closure on 1st November.

The owners said: “Obviously they were sad, but most of them having worked alongside us for many years, understood that it was an extremely hard decision, but probably the right decision.”

All the staff who wished to continue working were helped to find employment with other local care homes.

Added Mr Shaw and Ms Bissett: “The hardest part of all this was telling our clients and their families that Brantwood was closing.

“We assisted all of our clients and families with finding placements with other homes.

“If we could have found any other realistic ways to continue running Brantwood Care Home we certainly would have done. The decision to close our business and our clients’ home has been devastating.”

The last Care Quality Commission inspection, in July 2021 gave an overall rating of good.

The planning application said “it makes economic sense” for Mr Shaw and Ms Bissett to convert the building in to residential accommodation “which is much needed”.

Cheshire East Council’s planning reference number is 22/0061C. The last date for submitting comments is 4th February and the council’s decision target date is 7th March.

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