A decision to close two day care centres for elderly people in north east Fife without any consultation has been roundly condemned.
The Leng Resource Centre in Newport and St David’s Centre in St Andrews will shut as part of an £8.4 million package of budget cuts agreed by Fife’s Integration Joint Board last week.
Officers said the buildings were not fit for purpose but that services would continue in alternative locations for those who needed them.
They said everyone affected had been contacted.
It is not yet clear how the services will be run in future and new buildings to house them have yet to be found.
Local politicians have expressed alarm, saying service users should have been consulted before the decision was made.
Board member Tim Brett said he did not object to the closures in principle but that it should be done in consultation with those affected.
The Taybridgehead Liberal Democrat councillor said: “I was surprised and disappointed that the board made the decision to close the centres without consultation or debate with the community.
“I asked my fellow councillors on the board to understand that local people will be angered by this decision without a proper alternative plan in place but they ignored my request.”
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The Courier newsletter
Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie urged a rethink.
“It’s frustrating that the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership Board have acted in this way,” he said.
“At the very least we need a transparent plan for how service users are to be accommodated and what the alternative provision will be and that should be consulted on with the public.”
SNP MP Stephen Gethins said he had been contacted by a number of constituents concerned by the looming closures and called for assurances.
“The loss to local communities cannot be underestimated,” he said.
“Elderly people deserve to be looked after, especially those with dementia who need to be in a familiar place with familiar faces.”
In papers before the board on Thursday, the partnership said the closures were in line with a proposal to redesign older people’s day services agreed in 2016.
Divisional general manager David Heaney said both centres were running under capacity and that the Leng needed £200,000 of repairs over the next five years.
“We’ve been looking at opportunities to re-provide the services at a different location in both of these areas,” he said.
“We’re in discussions with local community organisations in the Newport and Tayport area about a new facility there.
“The St Andrews service is a bit more challenging and there is no obvious location for St David’s. Discussions are ongoing about what to do.
“We have done our best to reassure service users, family members and carers there will be the same service but in a different location.”