Residents hold protest over plans to demolish their homes

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Residents came out in force at the weekend to protest about Wakefield District Housing's plans to demolish sheltered housing in Knottingley.

Joined by family, friends and supporters, they protested outside Beulah Court on Saturday at the housing firm's U-turn on the site.

WDH had previously promised to spend millions on the site, but told the remaining residents that they will be moved out and the complex bulldozed.

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Lynne Greaves, whose mother has lived on Beulah Court for the past five years, helped organise the protest, and says that support to save the site continues to gather pace.

We shall not be moved....the protestors on Saturday.We shall not be moved....the protestors on Saturday.
We shall not be moved....the protestors on Saturday.

She said: "The feeling in the community is very strong now for the need of another independent living scheme.

"I have a poll on three Facebook sites which has accumulated between them all nearly 1,000 votes that there is a need for Beulah Court.

"I have paper petitions around the area up to date I have about 900 signatures."

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Beulah Court residents raised fears that the complex was to be mothballed in 2020 after WDH said interest in the site was dwindling.

Residents are unhappy at WDH's decision.Residents are unhappy at WDH's decision.
Residents are unhappy at WDH's decision.

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".

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They said the only way to make Beulah Court affordable would be to increase rent and service charges for residents.

Beulah Court is in line to be bulldozed.Beulah Court is in line to be bulldozed.
Beulah Court is in line to be bulldozed.

WDH said that the site would now be cleared in preparation for a new social housing scheme.

But Mrs Greaves said that residents still wanted to remain in a secure sheltered housing block, rather than open-plan homes and bungalows.

She said that councillors have held talks with WDH over the backlash, who have acknowledged the residents' requests.

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Mrs Greaves said: "They have now said they will consider building some sort of sheltered bungalows with a consideration of a community building.

"They want an independent living scheme same as where they live now with the security of the entrance door and a community feel.

"If they wanted a bungalow they would move to one."

Another protest is planned for mid August.

Meanwhile, WDH has said it will not be making further comment at this time.