Upset over home closure plan

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SHE is nearly 90 and has lived in Stanton for almost 40 years,but Olive Bacon now faces being forced out of the housing scheme and the village she calls home.

Olive is one of 15 tenants at Field Court, a sheltered housing scheme, which Havebury Housing Partnership has announced is to close.

“I just feel devastated. I have been in Stanton for 38 years. It is a long time. I am a member of the WI and have got lots of friends round here. If I move out I shall never see them again,” said Olive.

Havebury says Field Court is being closed because eight of the homes within the scheme are empty and demand for sheltered housing is falling. The scheme costs £78,000 a year to run and Havebury says resources could be better spent meeting other housing needs.

It is unclear what will happen to the building, but the residents, one of whom has been at the scheme for 21 years, will each be given £4,700 plus moving expenses.

Karen Mayhew, Havebury’s chief executive, said there was no deadline for the closure and that residents could be offered either bungalows in Stanton or a place at Thingoe Lodge, in Fornham All Saints.

But Olive does not want to leave Stanton. None of her family lives locally and she gave up her bungalow and the worries of maintaining a home to move into Field Court two years ago, after her husband Jack, a former parish councillor, died.

Mrs Mayhew said Havebury would be working with residents to find them suitable housing.

“I absolutely understand their concerns and understand that this decision has to be made about the future of Field Court. It has not been taken lightly,” she said.

Parish councillor Jim Thorndyke said: “They are talking about residents moving to bungalows, but it doesn’t have the same community aspect – you can’t wander into the lounge, have a cup and tea and talk to other people.”

The Rev David Messer, of All Saints’ Church, Stanton, said: “People are very upset. It is a very difficult situation for all concerned.”