A HISTORIC care home will shut next month leaving dozens of residents having to find a new place for treatment.

Nazareth House, in London Road, in Southend, will close its doors on February 17 after running for 147 years.

It comes after a battle between the Nazareth Care Charitable Trust and Southend Council to have the building demolished and a new facility built in its place.

Those plans were ultimately refused in October 2018 by the council.

Richard Whitby, chief executive officer for the trust, said: “We are acutely aware that this announcement will come as an unwelcome shock to the residents, families and staff and to all associated with the home.

“Our priority now is to ensure the safety, wellbeing and continuity of care for our residents and we will be working with the authority to provide suitable alternative accommodation for them.

“No amount of hard work and dedication can hide the fact that the home is operationally unsustainable.

“The building is over a hundred years old and is not up to the standard that we want to provide for our residents.”

He also pointed to financial issues facing the trust, adding: “In addition, in common with other care providers, our income from fees is not keeping pace with the rising cost of care and the home has lost £1million over the last three years.”

In an inspection report published in June last year, the home was ruled “inadequate” by the CQC with serious failings of leadership, along with safety concerns over the building layout were shown.

In a draft report from an inspection in December, the home had improved to “requires improvement”.

Mr Whitby added: “For several years we have been trying to obtain local planning permission to build a new home on the same site but without success.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the home manager and staff for their efforts to provide a high standard of care during a difficult period.

“At present no decisions have been made about arrangements for the future of the property in the longer term.”

Mr Whitby said the home would not fully close until all its residents had found somewhere else to live.

Francis Watkins, 60, has a 91-year-old aunt who has lived in the home for several years.

She said: “When they told us I phoned around a lot of care homes and I managed to get my aunt into one of them.

“But it’s still left 27 people, many whom have been there for so many years and consider it their home, without a place to stay. It’s a real shame, I know my aunt was happy there, it’s been their home for years.”

Nazareth House was established in Southend in 1873 as a home for the elderly and for “sickly or incurable” children.