Fenland sheltered housing resident, 94, vents anger at Roddons for being forced to move

A 94-YEAR-OLD sheltered housing tenant is angry and upset that she is being forced to move home after being told her home is no longer fit for purpose.

Bridget Admans is the oldest tenant still living at The Dale in Elm and says she wants to remain living there but Roddons Housing Association say they plan to close the entire complex.

Another tenant still living there but who wants to stay told the Standard last night: “I have told Roddons I am going to be their biggest nightmare.”

Mrs Adnams added: “When I moved I thought I would be here forever and I have got used to being here,” she said.

“Then they dropped the bombshell and told us we will have to move.

“I want to live here because I am very happy and I can walk to my daughter’s house for my meals and she pops into see me. I walk to the post office and the shops and everyone knows me. If I have to move then no-one will know me.”

Jill Osler, 63, The Dale’s youngest resident said: “We know we cannot fight the giants and win but the reality is that no-one here is happy about what has happened. It was not rocket science to see which option Roddons would go for, we may be elderly but we are not stupid.

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“We are having to wait for someone to die so we have somewhere to live and that doesn’t make you feel very good. We have a 90-year-old who has been offered general housing and she has been in �sheltered accommodation for 15 years.

“She is sad and upset, she has lived in Elm all her life and Elm is what she knows. No matter where she goes she is going to be unknown.”

The two residents are among those facing the trauma of being forced out of their sheltered accommodation away from friends and the village they love.

Mrs Osler lives in a three bedroom home originally earmarked for a manager.

She said: “I have told Roddons I am going to be their biggest nightmare.

“I have spent a lot of money on this and it is irrelevant why I have this accommodation, I was offered it and I took it. Now all they have to offer me is a one bedroom accommodation.”

Roddons decided The Dale is not fit for purpose, is not suitable for refurbishment and must be demolished. The same applies to Napier Court in Wisbech.

Some of the remaining residents of The Dale told the Wisbech Standard they felt the consultation process was a joke and Roddons had made up its mind long before the decision was announced last week. Six options were outlined but five were earmarked as being NOT VIABLE.

The Dale was once home to 20 residents and the remaining eight have not been given a time limit for moving out. Roddons says the nature of caring for the elderly is changing.

Board member and a Fenland councillor Martin Curtis said: “The focus now is enabling people to stay at home for as long as they can - in fact designing homes for life is an important principle, making sure that wherever possible, adaptations that may be needed in the future are built into homes at the design stage.”

But Mrs Osler said: “Sheltered housing maybe yesterday’s news but if they think housing can be designed for life what happens when you get a family living in a home and then there is just a couple and then just one elderly person left rattling around in a three-bedroom house with stairs? It is a ridiculous argument.”

Residents in bungalows built next to The Dale have also been left devastated by news of its closure. They will lose the services of a warden and their social life which centres on activities in the communal area.

Although they have been given assurances their bungalow is not at risk, Ray and Moira Briston are very unhappy at the prospect of losing their friends.

Mr Briston, 77, calls the numbers at the weekly bingo session and there are the coffee mornings to look forward to.

Mr Briston said: “We have a lovely Christmas party and we all go out for a meal together. It will be a sad day when they all move out.

“We moved here from Friday Bridge after we had nine break-ins but when the Dale is decommissioned we will not have any warden here.”

Mrs Briston, 73, also enjoys the social life of The Dale, said: “We are going to lose all our friends and it makes me want to cry.”

Christopher Smith, managing director for Roddons Housing Association, said: “I would like to reassure local people that we remain completely committed to providing sheltered housing in the Fenland area.

“However, it has to be the right kind, in the right place and of the right quality. Our residents deserve high quality, decent homes and the numbers of empty properties at both schemes for many years which we could not let was a clear sign of people already ‘voting with their feet’ and that the accommodation no longer met the expectations and needs of our customers.

“The sheltered housing review at Napier Court/Elizabeth Terrace and The Dale found that these homes were no longer suitable, and that we simply could not improve them sufficiently given aspects of their location, design and layout to make them so.

“Before we made any decision, we consulted fully with all of the residents and a wide range of key partners on the options that were open to us. It is a sad but unavoidable reality that the outcome of any full consultation will not please every single person.

“However, as we have done with the vast majority of residents who have already decided to move to better homes elsewhere, we will continue to work very closely with the few remaining residents to ensure they are found suitable new accommodation. Our Board has had to make a very difficult decision, but I firmly believe the right one based on what will be best for the long term housing needs of the community.”