Closure rumours “causing upset” at sheltered housing schemes

Charlton Court sheltered housing scheme, Patchway, Bristol Langdale Court sheltered housing scheme, Patchway, Bristol

Rumours of the possible closure of two sheltered housing schemes for the elderly in Patchway are causing upset amongst residents, say Town Councillors.

The two schemes, both located on Coniston Road, are run by Merlin Housing Society and currently provide a total of 40 accommodation units for people over the age of 50.

Langdale Court, near Patchway Roundabout, has six one bedroom flats and ten studio flats. Charlton Court, sited near the Coniston Community Centre, provides eight one bedroom flats and 16 studio flats.

Speaking at last week’s meeting of Patchway Town Council, Cllr Eve Orpen said she had attended meetings staged by Merlin at the two homes in mid-August. She reported that residents had been told: “your sheltered accommodation is not up to the standard we would like and we are looking at closing these two complexes.”

The reference to the possible closure of the schemes relates to a study carried out by ARK Housing Consultancy on behalf of Merlin, which looked into the state of the housing association’s 50 sheltered accommodation properties in South Gloucestershire. The review concluded that ten properties, including both Charlton and Langdale Courts, “would need significant investment to remain open.” [The Gazette reported on 25th August 2011]

Cllr Orpen said the ARK report had been produced in January 2011 but claimed that Merlin had been “sitting on it until now”. She added that she had spoken to the residents of both Patchway schemes and they all said they hadn’t been consulted by ARK or Merlin.

The Patchway schemes are well located, in close proximity to shops, dentists, doctors, bus stops, hairdressers, a launderette and a chemist, she added.

Some Councillors reported that they had heard that Merlin wished to reduce the proportion of studio flats at the schemes, these being less popular with residents.

Cllr Sarah Pomfret, who is a member of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Community Care and Housing Select Committee, said she was under the impression that the homes were to be “revamped” in order to reduce the number of bedsits rather than be closed altogether.

Cllr Pomfret said she would discuss the matter with Peter Murphy, SGC’s Director of Community Care and Housing, and table it for discussion at the next meeting of the Select Committee on 5th October.

The Town Council agreed to write to Merlin Housing Society and SGC, asking for clarification on the future of the two Patchway schemes.