Fury over plans to demolish elderly people’s home

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An elderly people’s housing scheme in Ackworth will be knocked down - despite a string of objections from villagers and the parish council.

Claims have been made that residents of Chiltern Court were led to believe their homes would be modernised by Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) in order to get them to move out.

WDH was granted permission by Wakefield Council’s planning committee last Thursday to demolish the residential block to make way for 16 houses.

Wakefield Council received 30 letters of objection to the planning application.

Ackworth Parish Council complained of the loss of green space and increased traffic if the demolition and new homes went ahead.

The parish council’s letter said: “The type of housing proposed is not in keeping with the surrounding properties.

“The building to be demolished was sheltered housing and this building should be replaced with new accommodation which will cater for the needs of our older residents.

“All the tenants have already moved out of Chiltern Court and accepted compensation payments from WDH.

Another objection letter signed by villagers said: “The residents of Chiltern Court were taken out of their accommodation on the promise it was to be modernised and refurbished.

“This has not happened. They are now scattered around the area.”

Chiltern Court’s demise also means the loss of a community hall which was used for dinner parties, quizzes and bingo but fell out of use as residents moved out.

Nearby householder Fred Darlison, 79, said: “There’s very little for old people in Ackworth. We have got a big ageing population.”

Mr Darlison said the community hall at Chiltern Court was not just used by many elderly people in the village, not just Chiltern Court residents.

He added: “It was a proper community hall. There was a very nice atmosphere.

“There were regular meetings and hot lunches for any of the old people in Ackworth,”

Wakefield and District Housing was granted permission to demolish Chiltern Court and built 16 two storey semi-detached homes.

Eight will be for affordable rental and the rest offered to buyers under a shared ownership scheme.

Sarah Roxby, Wakefield and District housing’s service director for wellbeing said: “We have held various consultation events with the tenants at Chiltern Court since early 2012 when we first met with them to explain it was not financially viable to build a new scheme on the site due to lack of demand in the area.

“We later met with tenants in June 2014 to inform them of our decision to close the Independent Living Scheme which included individual meetings to answer any specific questions.

“We worked closely with each tenant and supported them with their re-housing needs. All the tenants have now moved and accepted a home loss payment.”