Elderly are ‘devastated’ complex could shut down

Elizabeth Court, St. Marys Avenue, Hailsham. February 24th 2014 E08029Q
Elizabeth Court, St. Marys Avenue, Hailsham. February 24th 2014 E08029Q

Elderly and disabled residents living in a sheltered housing site in Hailsham have been left devastated after being told the accommodation is likely to be knocked down.

The occupants of Elizabeth Court received a letter from Wealden District Council inviting them to a consultation to discuss the future of the site, which is home to those in need of support.

Maurine Martin, whose sister lives in Elizabeth Court, said, “All the residents are very upset.

“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.

“They’ve told us residents can be upgraded to another room, which would obviously be more expensive, or rehoused.

“I struggle to see how they’ll rehouse 35 residents with only two other units in Hailsham. They said some may have to move to Heathfield and Uckfield, which will be away from their families.

“So many of the residents, my sister included, love it at Elizabeth Court and have everything they need just around the corner.

“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 residents and their families are currently consulting with the Sheltered Housing Residents’ Group (SHRG) to consider their next steps.

Amanda Hodge, head of housing at Wealden District Council, said, “Following the decision by Wealden’s Cabinet to approve a £19.8 million improvement programme for our sheltered housing across the district over the next 10 years, we have been speaking to residents to start the consultation on how this could affect the building at Elizabeth Court in Hailsham.

“The bedsit accommodation we provide in some of our schemes, including Elizabeth Court, no longer meets the needs of older people and is becoming under used.

“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 expect the consultation to last until March 21.”

• See Friday’s Eastbourne Herald for more reaction to this story.