Nineteen pensioners face an uncertain Christmas because their rest home is to close down in three weeks.

Brandlings Rest Home, in Langdale Road, Hove, which has been open for 19 years, is shutting on December 12 because owner Beverley Dinning says she is fed up with the demands of the National Care Standards Commission.

Residents' relatives were told on Friday by telephone.

Social services bosses held an emergency meeting at the home on Monday.

Only five of the 19 residents were represented because of the short notice.

Linda Horne, 53, from Hollingdean, was shattered when she heard her 82-year-old mother Emily Vomberg was being made homeless.

She said: "I am devastated. My mother does not need to be uprooted at her time of life, especially just before Christmas.

"She has lived there for three years and is happy there. She will be so upset at being separated from her friends and having to leave a place she is familiar with.

"My family and I put a lot of care and thought into choosing that home. We thought she would be able to spend her final days there."

Mrs Horne, a council worker, called social services and was told the 19 residents would be found alternative accommodation.

She said: "I have been told my mother could be moved to a home in Eastbourne. That would be terrible for her and us. "

Mrs Dinning said the National Care Standards Commission was pushing the care home industry to crisis point. She decided to close her home after one final unannounced inspection pushed her over the edge.

She said: "I have been running the rest home for 19 years and am used to inspections. That is part of the process.

"But last week I was off sick and my husband rang the inspectors to ask if we could postpone their two-day visit. They said that was fine and we could reschedule the visit to January.

"The following day they said they were coming anyway because of a concern, not a complaint.

"I had never cancelled on them in 19 years and had always had very good reports. I felt like I was being put in an impossible situation. Enough was enough. I had to take a stand."

She said the decision to close had not been easy.

All 17 staff have promised to stay on until the end.

Mrs Dinning said: "I feel terrible at having to close. I will miss my residents and some of my staff have been with me for 14 years. Everyone was shocked at my decision.

"But I cannot go on any longer with the commission's bullying tactics and endless paperwork. Everyone in the industry feels the same."

A National Care Standards Commission spokeswoman said: "We were in the process of investigating a number of complaints against the home.

"We needed to ensure the welfare of the residents.

"We tried to arrange an announced inspection but were unable to before Christmas. We carried out an unannounced inspection last week because of the complaints.

"These inspections are to make sure residents are being looked after and bringing care homes up to minimum standards."

A council spokesman said residents would be assessed by health and social care experts to find suitable new homes.

He said: "The project team and Brandlings staff will endeavour to make this process as smooth as possible with the minimum of disruption to all the residents."