ELDERLY residents have vowed to fight 'devastating' proposals to close day centres in Bedfont and Heston.

Two Bridges Day Care Centre, in Marriott Close, Bedfont, and Heston Day Centre, in Springwell Road, Heston, both face the axe under the latest set of cost-cutting plans drawn up by council consultants KPMG.

Civic Centre leaders are also considering getting rid of five staff across the borough's three residential care homes and have not ruled out closing one of them, according to union stewards.

Harj Dhaliwal, joint secretary of Hounslow Unison, said: "There's something shameful in the fact HounslowCouncil's cuts are targeting the absolutely most vulnerable residents.

"We can only assume these residents are being targeted because they are least able to protest and probably don't vote."

She also claimed plans to privatise home care services could lead to a repeat of the shocking events at Christmas, when nursing contractor Medico left some pensioners stranded for days.

Two Bridges has 26 care places for people with severe learning disabilities, many of whom need constant supervision.

Heston Day Centre has 58 day care places for very frail older people, including a 104-year-old and two 99-year-olds.

Between them the centres provide respite for scores of families and carers, who one insider said would 'struggle very badly' without them.

Philip Southward and his wife Jean, of SouthernAvenue, Feltham, are regulars at Heston Day Care Centre, where they have been going for nearly four years.

"It's a wonderful centre with fantastic staff and I think it's shocking what the council is doing," said Mr Southward, 72.

"This will be devastating for some of the older users and if the council thinks it's going to close the centre around us it's got another thing coming."

The latest cost-cutting proposals come less than a year after council-lors voted to scrap specialist drivers ferrying users to and from day centres, saving an estimated £200,000.

But council leader Peter Thompson accused the unions of 'scaremongering' over proposals which are yet to be agreed by councillors.

"Home care services will not be cut and there will be no reduction in day care hours. Changes to staffing at residential homes will only affect a small number of management posts and will not affect front-line services," he said.

"While we are happy to have a constructive dialogue with the unions and discuss proposed service improvements, it is not appropriate, or helpful, to scare local residents with inaccurate, malicious claims."