FURIOUS relatives have branded the decision to close a Tetbury care home as “utterly cynical”.

Not-for-profit Somerset Care gathered interested parties on Tuesday to tell them the Priory would be closing on March 31.

In a statement, Somerset Care chief executive Jane Townson said the costly old building in The Chipping would had become “unviable” to maintain.

All 16 residents of the care home will now have to find alternative accommodation.

Relatives of those at the home were shocked by the decision and raised concerns that they may have to go to homes far outside of Tetbury.

Nicola Silcock, whose 89-year-old mother has been in the home for six years, called the decision to close the Priory “cynical and extremely disturbing”.

“It was an extremely lively meeting, I was proud of all the people sticking up for their loved ones. Somerset Care have handled this appallingly.

“The residents are going to be very distressed - my mother is 89 and this will probably kill her.

“They’ve had new residents in the last year or so and to still take people on and give them the understanding is absolutely wrong.”

Colin Pearce’s 85-year-old mother has been in The Priory Home for more than three years.

“We have all got to find new homes for our relatives, but Kingsley House [a care home in Gumstool Hill, Tetbury], only has two places left,” he said.

“The Standard reported a few months ago that Tetbury could be become a ‘care community’, but it’s only going to be for the rich. Normal Tetbury people can’t afford these new retirement homes going up."

Mr Pearce, who is also a town councillor, added that he and his siblings had to sell their mother’s home to put her into care.

“My dad and mum worked very hard for what they got. My mum has lived in and around Tetbury her entire life and now she might have to move out of her town.”

Although run by Somerset Care, the building is owned by the National Benevolent Charity who are reported to have plans to put it on the market immediately.

Somerset Care chief executive Jane Townson said: “Sadly, despite looking for alternative solutions, the home has simply become unviable. The Priory is a lovely old building, but it is becoming increasingly impractical and costly.

"Our main priority at this difficult time is to ensure the continuity of care of our residents and we are in talks with them and their family members to make sure that each person gets the right support for them.”

They added they were working closely with Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) to keep all affected parties informed.

Mark Branton, assistant director of adult social care at GCC, said: “When a private care home takes the decision to close, it can be a very difficult time for residents and their families alike.

“Our priority is to help residents and their families to find alternative accommodation that suits their needs.”

On March 31 The Priory Nursing Home will close its doors for the last time.

Mayor Sandra Ball said: "Tetbury Town Council are very, very sad about this decision by Somerset Care and we feel that the residents and staff have been let down very badly.

"Our hearts go out to all the residents, one of whom is 103. and their families who have now got to make the agonising decision to find a new home for their loved one, at a time when the residents of the Priory should be safe, cherished and comfortable in their twilight years.

"The staff, some of which have been at The Priory for more than 20 years, are devastated and will now have to find new jobs at a time when there are not a lot of jobs around.

"I understand that the reason for closing is financial, however for nearly a year they have been running at approximately half capacity of residents in a 28 bed home and had made the decision, so I have been informed, not to take in social service residents.

"Tetebury Town Council will do all it can to help and support staff, residents and their families in whatever we can at a very stressful time”