TENS of thousands of pounds have been spent by the council on an empty care centre - though a bid to reopen it has fallen through.

Highfield Grange, off John Street, Wombwell, closed in March last year - with the council subsequently diverting people to three private care homes in Thurnscoe, Goldthorpe and Penistone.

Described by one former resident as 'the jewel in the crown' of Barnsley's social care, the centre was designed for short residential stays allowing people to receive care that would either prevent the need for them being admitted to hospital or to allow patients to leave hospital sooner.

But the building has been empty for 15 months, at a cost of £70,000 to the council in maintenance and security.

It was not demolished due to a third party making a bid on the property with the intention of reopening it as a care home. However, the bid has now fallen through and the site will again be put on the market with a £550,000 price tag.

Highfield Grange was jointly run by the council and NHS Barnsley and employed 34 council workers and 38 NHS staff. It was closed following a dispute between the two organisations over a £544,000 shortfall in its budget. Both denied reducing their financial contributions to the centre.