IT has been confirmed that a 66-bed care home will replace Cornwall Council’s large office building at Dolcoath in Camborne.

However, not all councillors are happy with the decision.

The decision to sell the building was taken last year as part of the council’s ongoing ‘estate transformation programme’ which will see the council significantly reduce the size of its estate, costs and carbon footprint. The office building, complete with parking for 262 cars, has been marketed through Vickery Holman.

A meeting of the council’s Conservative cabinet on Wednesday, March 20, heard that a favoured tender had been accepted, from a developer who will build a 66-bed care home. Additionally, there will be surplus land available, which the council will consider for possible social housing.

South Wheal Crofty will become the permanent replacement council hub for residents of West Cornwall, while other council functions will be carried out at Kresen Kernow in Redruth. It is planned that the council will vacate the Dolcoath site by the end May.

While the move to provide a large modern care home in the Camborne area has been welcomed by the council’s administration, other councillors are not so happy about the loss of a council hub for the area.

The council’s portfolio holder for economy, Cllr Louis Gardner (Newquay Central and Pentire, Conservative), said the building was “surplus to requirements” and welcomed its replacement with “something that is much-needed in the community”.

Cllr Andy Virr (Fowey, Tywardreath and Par, Conservative), the portfolio holder for adult social care, agreed, saying the move fits in with the council’s strategy to provide more care beds in Cornwall.

Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek (Redruth South, Conservative), portfolio holder for children and families who represents Redruth South, said as a local member it had been a contentious decision in the area. “However, my view is the decisions have been made and I am really pleased and welcome the fact that we have a modern, up-to-date care home coming into the area. This is the best result we possibly could have.”

Cllr Jayne Kirkham (Falmouth Penwerris, Labour) asked if it would be a purely private care home. The authority’s chief executive Kate Kennally replied that discussions with the care provider would ensure there were beds provided at council-funded rates.

Cllr Loveday Jenkin, (Crowan, Sithney and Wendron, Mabyon Kernow/Green) told the cabinet: “Without wishing to rain on the parade, obviously having a care home is an important thing, but my primary concern is the loss of a council hub for West Cornwall. The delivery of services from five different locations for the whole of West Cornwall seems to me to be a backward step; going back to where we were in the 1980s when we decided to bring everything together into one place.

“Ten years down the line I predict we will be looking for a hub in West Cornwall and we have sold off this building, and we will have to build something new.” She disagreed with cabinet members that any local members had been consulted properly.

Deputy leader Cllr David Harris (Gloweth, Malabar & Shortlanesend, Conservative) replied: “The alternative accommodation has been agreed by all the various departments. These are the guys on the ground, so if they’ve agreed it to me that’s it.”

Cllr Jenkin said she didn’t think staff had any choice and been told that’s where they have to go.

Cllr Peter Perry (Camborne Roskear and Tuckingmill, Conservative) said he had been consulted as a local member. He had voted from the beginning that the Dolcoath office should be demolished because of the cost of running it and it’s “extremely low occupancy”. He added he was delighted with the choice of purchaser “because I see the need for care homes to be acute”. He said the extra land should be considered for some kind of community space.

Cllr Stephen Barnes (Redruth North, Labour) was so incensed by the building’s loss he asked the council leader Linda Taylor to resign. He said when the issue was raised at town council meetings, members said they wanted to keep the building as a council facility in one spot where everyone in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle could go.

Calling for Cllr Taylor to resign, he added: “I cannot stand by and see another attack on democracy by this administration on the Camborne and Redruth area.” The leader said she wouldn’t stand down.

Cllr Connor Donnithorne (Redruth Central, Carharrack and St Day, Conservative) said Cllr Barnes comments were ill-timed and the decision was a positive one for the future of West Cornwall, reducing the cost to taxpayers by getting rid of the building and providing a long-term benefit for residents with the care home provision.

The cabinet unanimously agreed that the disposal of land at Dolcoath offices should go to the preferred bidder, who has not yet been named.