Residents accuse WDH of "deceit" as sheltered-housing demolition plan confirmed

The remaining residents of a Wakefield District Housing (WDH) scheme say they have been "strung along and deceived" by the company after it was confirmed the site will be bulldozed.

By Nick Frame
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 11:06 am

Those living a Beulah Court in Knottingley breathed a sigh of relief in 2020 when WDH promised to invest millions in the sheltered accommodation complex to bring it up to scratch amid rumours it was to be scrapped.

But the company has now confirmed that residents will be removed and the site flattened ready for a new modern housing scheme.

There are now only seven residents remaining with more than 25 empty units.

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The residents in 2020, who successfully convinced WDH to invest, but which never came to fruition.

The mother of Lynne Greaves, who has lived there for the past five years, is one of the remaining residents who were told of the closure at a recent meeting with WDH.

Mrs Greaves said: "The residents feel like they have been misled, strung along and deceived by WDH.

"We thought it was because of Covid everything was at a standstill. When they had the meeting with them on May 27, the residents thought it was a start date for the bungalows or refurbishment of Beulah Court.

"The feelings of the residents are anger, frustrated, devastated and let down by WDH who are supposed to be a responsible, caring landlord for all social housing needs."

Beulah Court's flats are earmarked for demolition.

A paper petition to save the site has been launched, and the remaining residents and their friends and families are planning a protest at the site this Saturday, June 25, from 2pm.

In 2020, Beluah Court residents feared the complex was to be mothballed after WDH said interest in the site was dwindling.

Residents also said at the time that none of the empty flats were being re-advertised, arousing further suspicion.

The company then announced it would invest £3 million in the site to transform it "into a modern, desirable place to live, where residents feel safe and part of a community".

In a latest statement from WDH, it said the company had hoped to refurbish the site, but said the cost to make the necessary improvements was unaffordable and "doesn’t deliver value for rent payers' money", so took what they said was an "extremely-difficult decision".

It reads: "The only way to make these works affordable would be to significantly increase rent and service charges for residents within the scheme now and in the future.

"This would then have an impact on the affordability of these properties, impacting on demand now and in the future.

"Over the last three years we have been looking at various ways to retain and improve the scheme, in line with what the remaining residents wanted however, this is not possible.

"There is a higher demand for family homes in the Knottingley area which we can’t ignore.

"We are aware of a care provider in Knottingley who has recently had planning approval to build independent living accommodation close by, impacting on the future demand for this type of WDH accommodation in Knottingley.

"Beulah Court will therefore be closed, demolished and a new housing scheme will be considered on the site that meets the needs of local residents.

"We appreciate this is a difficult for the tenants, their families and Knottingley residents, however we have set out our reasons for making this difficult decision and we must continue to provide the types of housing that the community of Knottingley needs.

"Our team has met with residents and is now working closely with them and their families to make sure that they are supported."