THERE are just hours left to have your say on the future of five state-run care homes.

Durham County Council is considering the future of Cheveley House, Belmont; Feryemount, Ferryhill; Mendip House, Chester-le-Street; Grampian House, Peterlee; and Newtown House, Stanhope.

Three options are on the table: repair, privatisation and closure; and a 12-week public consultation ends on Sunday (January 19).

There has been strong support for the homes from trade unions and relatives of their nearly 50 permanent residents.

Backing has been most vocal for Newtown House, which houses about 25 elderly people, provides much-needed jobs in upper Weardale and was recently given top marks following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Last month, Methodist minister Sue Peat chained herself to the gates as nearly 100 people formed a “circle of love and protection” around the home.

Labour chiefs say with the council facing more than £200m of cuts, all services must be reviewed, but stress no decisions have been taken.

To take part in the consultation, visit, call 03000-265-680, email: or write to: Residential Care Consultation, Room 2/108-111, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UG.

No date for final decisions on the homes has been set, but votes are expected within the next few months.