Elderly residents’ fears over threatened future of centre

Elizabeth Court, St. Marys Avenue, Hailsham. February 24th 2014 E08030Q
Elizabeth Court, St. Marys Avenue, Hailsham. February 24th 2014 E08030Q

Elderly and disabled residents have embarked on a quest to save their sheltered accommodation after it was revealed the site is at risk of being knocked down.

All those living in Elizabeth Court received a letter from Wealden District Council inviting them to a consultation meeting to discuss the future of the properties.

There, the residents were told the bedsit apartments at Elizabeth Court were proving unpopular, leaving many of them empty and therefore not cost effective.

Maureen Martin, whose sister resides in Elizabeth Court, said, “They have such a lovely little community there. They’re very supportive of each other, they look out for each other and they’re really good friends.

“Having to move will unsettle and upset many of the residents, some of whom are in their nineties.

“It takes time for people to get to know one another and become comfortable in their environment. Having to move will mean they have to start all over again.

“The council has told the residents they can upgrade to another room, which would be more expensive, or re-house.

“I would have thought the open-plan apartments would be better for the elderly and disabled because they wouldn’t have to manoeuvre doors.”

A number of residents have voiced concerns about being re-housed after being told that some may have to move to Heathfield and Uckfield, which would be further from their friends and families.

However, Wealden District Council have reassured residents that everything will be done to accommodate their needs and wishes should Elizabeth Court be knocked down.

Amanda Hodge, head of housing at Wealden District Council, said, “The welfare of our existing scheme residents is our prime concern, and if we do decide after consultation to redevelop the scheme, we will look to provide suitable alternative accommodation in accordance with their wishes.

“We have been very successful in re-accommodating residents during recent changes to our other schemes and we want everyone to be reassured that if we do decide to redevelop, the wishes of existing residents will be respected and receive the highest levels of care and compassion from the Council.

“Wealden District Council owns two other sheltered housing schemes in Hailsham, both of which do not have any bedsit accommodation and provide 45 one and two bedroom flats.

“We expect the consultation to last until 21 March.”

The occupants are currently in discussion with the Sheltered Housing Residents’ Group to consider their next steps.