ELDERLY residents have been removed from a care home by Blackburn with Darwen Council because it had no hot water, or heating, for three weeks.

Families yesterday helped to transfer their loved ones from Highfield House, in Darwen, to alternative accommodation after the management was deemed ‘unable to resolve’ issues at the Sudell Road home.

Residents, aged between 74 and 101, also had their food budget slashed, and were not allowed desserts.

A review has now been launched by social services, and the Care Quality Commission, into the home, run by Dhillon Financial UK, a private company understood to be owned by Midlands-based 58-year-old former post office manager Surjit Dhillon.

The council issued a default notice after complaints over the treatment of the 10 council-placed residents, and one private resident.

A woman whose 74-year-old mother lived at the home said: “It was really sad, everybody was crying.

“Some people didn’t know what was happening and the staff were really upset.

“The conditions were absolutely awful.”

Care homes must be regist-ered with the Care Quality Commission, which carries out background checks on the owners, and the care they will be providing.

Once registered, premises are inspected regularly to ensure standards are maintained.

Highfield House was last inspected in July last year, when all standards were met.

If a care home does not comply, the commission can stop services.

Steve Tingle, director of adult commissioning and personalisation at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said the council also monitored placements through contracts and quality and safeguarding teams.

He said: “We have received a number of complaints relating to the quality of care provided at this home and we have taken these matters extremely seriously.

“Our first priority is the health, wellbeing, and safety, of all the residents in the home.

“When we were first notified of these complaints, we took immediate steps.

“We have met with the management of the home on numerous occasions and demanded swift, and urgent, action.

“We have closely monitored the situation through daily spot checks, and received regular reports as to how things have been progressing.

“Unfortunately, we now believe the management are unable to resolve the issues and provide the high quality of care we demand from providers.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council pays between £344 and £410 per week for each resident placed in privately-run homes, depending on their needs.

Mr Tingle added that services would not be recommissioned at Highfield House unless conditions improved.

Darwen mayor, Coun Eileen Entwistle said: “It is disgraceful.

“I understand the food had been reduced, as well as there being no hot water, or heating.

“It is wrong because older people need keeping warm, and certainly need nourishment.

“If they have settled in a place and they are used to the staff, who I believe are wonderful, it is a big wrench.”