Sheltered housing scheme shake-up

Have your say

A sheltered housing scheme in Bury St Edmunds is to lose nearly 30 flats specifically for the over 60s as part of a shake up by a housing association.

A wing of flats at Beetons Lodge, in Bury St Edmunds, is to be desheltered and would be available for the over 50s under changes proposed by Havebury Housing Partnership.

However, bosses have stressed that no one currently residing in the wing would have to move.

The not-for-profit housing association is consulting with tenants and council representatives on changes to five of its 12 shelterd schemes including Beetons Lodge as well as Erskine Lodge, in Great Whelnetham.

It follows a decline in demand for such accommodation.

Philip Sullivan, director of operations, said: “A handful of schemes have had empty flats and its taken a long time to sell them.

“The facilities haven’t been as modern as people wanted and across the county a lot of older people stay in their own homes a bit longer and move into higher need accommodation - effectively skipping the sheltered stage.”

Among the proposals are to deshelter flats for the over 60s outside the core scheme at Beetons Lodge reducing the total number from 56 to to 27.

Mr Sullivan said: “That will happen over many years because no one has to move.

“If any individuals in part of the scheme that would be desheltered want to move into the core scheme, they would be given that option.”

At Erskine Lodge, which currently has bedsits, flats could be built.

Mr Sullivan said: “Should that prove possible the hope is that existing tenants would be given the option to move into those brand new flats but also they will be given the option to move elsewhere.

“We will try to be as flexible and provide as many options as we can for those individuals.”

Other schemes affected are in Haverhill and Clare.

Despite a consultation on Autumn Close, in Bury, there are no proposed changes.

Mr Sullivan added: “We have been listening to feedback from residents as well as members of the community. We will continue working closely with these parties to ensure we provide the best possible accommodation and services for the longer term.”

Karen Mayhew, chief executive of Havebury, said: “Only when we have gathered all the information will we reach a decision on the best way forward.”