STOCKTON Borough Council yesterday announced which of its four remaining old peoples' homes face closure.

Belasis, in Billingham, and Tithebarn, in Hardwick, Stockton, could close if the council's cabinet passes the proposals on December 6.

Rosedale, in Bishopsgarth, Stockton, will be transferred into private sector care, leaving Stockton council in charge of Parkview, in Thornaby.

Ann Baxter, head of social services, said yesterday that keeping all four homes open and in council care was "not an option".

If the homes were to stay as they are, the council would have to spend £2m over the next five years upgrading them to create en-suite bathrooms and other facilities to bring them in line with new Government guidelines.

Social services chiefs met some staff and residents yesterday to inform them of the proposals, following the first round of consultations.

Ms Baxter said she would "not rule out" redundancies, although some staff will be transferred to other homes, and others given the option of early retirement.

The council said there was a low demand for residential care, with homes such as Belasis only 57 per cent full. It also gave assurances that tailored alternative provision would be found for residents.

On Wednesday, an action group made up of staff, residents, families and trade unions, said it would fight to keep all four homes open.

Tish McDonald, spokeswoman for the action group, said: "We are determined that these homes will remain open and in public ownership and will use all means available including legal action under the Human Rights Act 1998 if necessary."

Objectors plan to lobby the cabinet when it meets on December 6