A RETHINK on plans to close two Stockton nursing homes is to take place.

Moves to close the Belasis and Tithebarn residential homes, privatise the Rosedale home and keep Park View in local authority ownership, is to be reviewed following a decision by Stockton Borough Council's Scrutiny Committee.

Action group Rafac (Residents and Families Against Closures) collected 14,000 signatures from local people opposed to the plans and attended council meetings to demonstrate their opposition, but to no avail. Earlier this month, the council decided to go ahead with its planned changes.

However, because of new local government guidelines, the decision was referred to the council's scrutiny committee and it decided that the plans needed another think.

Committee chairwoman Councillor Ann McCoy said: "We have listened to all points of view and, on balance, we felt that the cabinet should be asked to look again at issues raised about the consultation process with the health providers and about detailed financial information."

The committee agreed the plans should be sent back to the council cabinet for them to look at again. It is expected to meet early in January to make its final decision.