A PETITION calling for a care home to be opened in a Tynedale town has been launched by community members.

Haltwhistle has been without a care home since Northumberland County Council closed the town’s only facility in 2009.

The closure of Greenholme was part of a county council decision which saw all of its care homes closed in the county, with 12 sheltered accommodation flats built as a replacement at the site.

More than 10 years later, community members have launched a new campaign for a care facility to return to the town.

Local resident Diana Robison is working with the Haltwhistle Partnership and Churches Together groups to receive the public’s backing.

“About 10 years ago, the council made the promise that a care home would return, but we still don’t have one,” she said.

“When the county council closed Greenholme people were shipped off to other care homes in the local area.

“I have a tremendous loyalty to the town and its local people. It’s an absolute sin that people who have lived all their lives in Haltwhistle are either sent away or shut off from the rest of the district.”

Town councillors repeated calls for a care home in the town at a meeting last week, but were told by the county council that the authority had withdrawn from providing care homes.

Chairman of the council, Coun. Alan Sharp, said: “There is a huge need for this facility in the town and the county council really is not very supportive of that view.

“What we can do is approach private companies ourself. I am not sure what else we can do, but it’s important we don’t put this in the long grass at this stage. We can’t forget about it.”

Petitions have appeared in shops and local businesses throughout Haltwhistle after being launched last week.

Mrs Robison added: “With the backing of Churches Together and lots of residents, the petition is doing really well. Everyone in the town cares and supports local people.

“Haltwhistle is forgotten and somebody ought to wake up and do something about it. We’re a caring community who need support.”

Northumberland County Council said some residents had moved to care homes elsewhere in the district due to the specialist services they provided.

A spokeswoman added: “A general purpose care home would not be sufficient to attract an operator to develop a new-build care home.”