SEVEN council-run old people's homes could be closed because they don't meet modern standards.

Kirklees chiefs are holding talks to decide whether to spend money on the buildings, shut them or convert them into some other form of care facility.

Clr Dennis Hullock, the council Cabinet member for health and social services, said: "Doing nothing is not an option.

"The council needs to ensure its residential homes comply with statutory requirements by 2007."

Homes at risk are:

* The Homestead in Almondbury

* Cherry Tree Court at Shepley

* Greenacres in Meltham

* Scissett Mount in Scissett

* Westmoor House at Dewsbury

* Ashworth Court in Dewsbury

* Woodwell House at Batley.

Clr Hullock said: "Over the coming weeks there will be detailed consultations with everyone affected, including residents, relatives, carers, staff, unions and local councillors.

"The options for the seven homes include refurbishment, rebuilding, redeveloping for sheltered housing with on-site care, switching to other uses - such as day care - or selling sites and using the money to reinvest in improving care services."

The move is the last phase in a multi-million-pound programme to transform services for older people.

The council is building four new homes, costing £10m. They are expected to open next year.

A new home is to be built on the site of the former Castle Grange home at Newsome.

This will specialise in care for older people with mental health needs.

Clr Hullock said the idea of the changes was to help older people remain at home for as long as possible and to maintain their independence.

He added: "The care needs of older people are changing all the time.

"People are living longer, and so their care needs become more specialised and specific.

"The overall thrust of the modernisation programme is to move away from residential care as a first option."

But he promised that high-quality residential care would always be available.