U.K. charity the Musicians' Benevolent Fund (MBF) has confirmed the closure of its artists' retirement home.

As previously reported (Billboard.biz, July 29), the MBF was considering its commitments as part of a review of residential care at Ivor House in Bromley, south London. The MBF purchased the property in 1975 and it was named after the English pianist Ivor Newton who died in 1981. It is currently home to around 15 elderly musicians.

The decision to close the home in October 2009 - despite protests by unions and residents -- was announced today (Aug. 5).

John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union (MU) says in a statement: "The MU is very disappointed at this announcement -- it is a real shame that there will no longer be a residential home dedicated to retired musicians."

Smith added: "the MU will now concentrate on doing our utmost to support the current residents of Ivor Newton House as they move to alternative accommodation. However, most of the residents of are now in their nineties, and we would urge the MBF to consider allowing these people to live out the rest of their lives in Ivor Newton House. We also sympathise with Unison members working at the home who are losing their jobs."

The MBF says it will continue to support retired musicians and their dependants in residential and nursing care, but will no longer be involved directly in residential care provision.

"This decision has not been taken without a great deal of thought," says MBF chairman Richard Lyttelton in a statement. "But it has become increasingly difficult to fill the home as more and more people seeking our support wish to go into residential care closer to where they live or near family and friends. And as people are now staying in their own homes longer, they move into residential care when they need specialist nursing or dementia care facilities, which Ivor Newton House can not offer."