Residents fear they will be forced from their homes
Residents in sheltered housing in Rougham fear they will be forced out of their home after receiving a letter warning the cottages were going to be ‘disposed of’.
James Stiff Cottages, on Almshouse Road, is home to 12 residents aged from 56 to 93 with the oldest having lived there for the past 30 years.
In late January, Havebury Housing Partnership, who manage the one-room bedsits, sent a letter to tenants saying its ‘medium term strategy’ was to dispose of the flats but had no plans to force residents to leave. The letter said the company were finding it difficult to fill vacant rooms.
A few days later two Havebury representatives visited to conduct one-on-one meetings, giving residents just four days to see if family or friends could be present.
According to residents, their idea of a group meeting was rejected.
The letter also said if residents chose to move to another property, Havebury would provide ‘practical and financial assistance of up to a maximum of £2,500’.
But when 83-year-old Christopher Taylor decided to move to Manson House in Bury, Havebury said he would not get that money as his new property was already furnished.
His daughter Trina Godfrey said her father felt bullied out of his home.
She said: “He was more or less told - you find somewhere or we will.’ He was extremely distressed and felt very insecure. It was very distressing to see this grown strong man that I admire greatly crumble. He’s really happy with where he is now. He felt bullied to go.
Residents Fred Cox said he is desperate to stay in the home he loves.
“I have lived in Rougham since I was six months old, I’m a Rougham boy and want to live here,” he said.
“They will have to push me out of here in a coffin.”
Borough Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, who lives nearby, said she didn’t believe Havebury couldn’t find new tenants.
“These cottages are just going to be run down until there are only a few residents left,” she said. “I am concerned it will split the community.”
Matthew Dick, Head of Assets at Havebury, said: “After careful consideration, a decision was made that at one stage in the future, these properties should be sold off and the proceeds reinvested in building modern housing that is better suited to people’s needs and expectations.
“All of the tenants from James Stiff Cottages have been advised that Havebury will be in regular contact with them regarding the future of the property,” he added.
He said residents had been offered one-on-one meetings so they could express their views freely.