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Fears over Haverhill new home plans

William Blake Court, which is to be rebuilt nearby.

William Blake Court, which is to be rebuilt nearby.

A woman has spoken out against Havebury’s modernisation plans over fears of how the change will impact on her grandmother.

A woman has spoken out against Havebury’s modernisation plans over fears of how the change will impact on her grandmother.

Social housing landlord Havebury Housing is investing in six of its sheltered housing schemes, with two in Haverhill and one in Clare.

William Blake Court in Cambridge Way currently has 28 units and was built in 1971, while Westbourne Court (1978), also in Haverhill, has 30 units and Churchill Close (1967), in Clare, has 23.

The new accommodation would be available to those from the age of 50 –currently the age is 60.

The scheme went before St Edmundsbury Borough Council for planning permission on Wednesday (November 21).

A 41-year-old woman said her grandmother, 85, is worried about moving out of William Blake Court into the new accommodation that would be flats built in Withersfield Road.

“We’ve been told over the last few months that they will knock it down because it’s not fit for purpose and that they’ll build new housing somewhere within the town,” she said.

“We had a meeting and were told that the new building of flats will be by (funeral directors) Paintins and that there will be no communal room, yet they are moving 28 elderly people.

“These are residential homes they live in now and they have a communal room where they play bingo as you would expect, but now it will just be front doors and flats.

“At the moment they have a level of independence and all have a pull tag in case of an emergency but the new flats won’t just be for the elderly.

“A carer comes every day and tends to their needs and they do things like fish’n’chip Fridays and arrange holidays, but they are going to lose that communal space.

“There will be no parking at the new flats, even though some have cars and still drive, and it doesn’t help when visitors want to come.

“Their so upset to hear it and don’t need to be upset at this stage of their lives.

“My nan won’t like having her own front door and it opens them up to distraction burglaries.”

Havebury is also looking at running a pilot scheme to re-configure five bedsits at Westbourne Court and turn them into self contained one bedroom flats.

If successful, it will be rolled out across other units.

Philip Sullivan, director of operations for Havebury said: “We are sorry to hear that this family is concerned about the proposed changes to the sheltered housing scheme at William Blake Court.

“To reassure the tenant concerned, we can confirm that she will continue to have access to scheme manager support and that she will receive the same support in her new home as she does currently.

“There will be a similar alarm system to the current pull cord system and parking will be provided on site.

“Tenants’ preferences on individual or communal doors will also be taken into account.

“In addition, tenants are invited to move to another sheltered scheme or alternative accommodation if they would prefer.

“Tenants and their family members have been invited to two meetings about the changes and we will continue to include them in future discussions.

“We would be very happy to meet this lady and her grandmother to further discuss their concerns.”

Consultation about the move has ended but Havebury is still liaising with tenants and families about their wishes regarding the move.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 29) Echo.

 

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