Fury at council’s plans for 97-year-old’s Thurston home

Mid Suffolk District Council
Mid Suffolk District Council

A woman has expressed fury at Mid Suffolk Council after it started work to expand her 97-year-old aunt’s garden without consultation.

Alison Stevens said she was ‘absolutely appalled’ by the council’s actions, after three men entered the garden of her her aunt, Beatrice Hall, to start work on it without informing her first.

“My aunt was terrified. She looked outside and saw three random men in her garden. When you’re 97 you’re incredibly vulnerable,” she said.

“The least they could do is send a letter saying they’ll be coming or even just knock on the door. It makes me so angry.”

Mrs Hall has lived in her house in Woodland Close, Thurston, for 40 years. The housing was previously sheltered but was ‘de-sheltered’ by the council in April, despite Mrs Stevens’ objections.

As a result, Mrs Hall is now responsible for paying for a safety alarm, a window cleaner and a gardener.

“I think it’s ridiculous when you’ve got to be over a certain age to live there,” said Mrs Stevens.

“There used to be a warden checking that everything was alright and if her alarm went off it would connect to someone. That’s the contract she signed 40 years ago and now she’s getting none of it.”

The council plans to transform a communal area into more garden space for Mrs Hall and her five neighbours.

Each garden will be fenced off, with the individual residents reponsible for its upkeep, either through paying a gardener or doing it themselves.

“There is no way my aunt wants a larger garden. She can hardly cope with the one she’s got just now. Out of the six people who live there, five of them don’t want it, so why should they just accept these things?” said Mrs Stevens.

“When I phoned them to complain, they effectively said that if she didn’t like it she could move. But she’s 97. To move now would kill her.

“My aunt is so upset. She doesn’t want a big thing made of it but someone needs to be a voice for those who can’t speak out,” said Mrs Stevens.

A spokesperson from Mid Suffolk Council said: “The work on creating gardens for some of our properties which have recently been de-sheltered should not have started without letting our tenants know first.

“This was an oversight and we’d like to apologise to all those living in the properties where work has already begun. All work has now been halted until letters have been sent out to everyone affected.”

Work on the new garden is expected to begin again on Monday, November 27.