Nine homes to remain empty
By JAMES BURTON NINE homes in Linton, empty for nearly three years, will stay that way until government cash is allocated to redevelop them into a residential home for the elderly. They have been caught up in the change from local councils funding such w
By JAMES BURTON
NINE homes in Linton, empty for nearly three years, will stay that way until government cash is allocated to redevelop them into a residential home for the elderly.
They have been caught up in the change from local councils funding such works to the role being taken on by the Regional Housing Board for the South East of England.
Eight bungalows and a one-bedroom flat in Flaxfields, all owned by South Cambridgeshire Council, were emptied in preparation for the development.
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Joan Smith, District Councillor for Linton, explained that
when the development was conceived, the council was in charge of allocating money for housing as it saw fit.
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She said: "The central government withdrew the money for housing developments from local authorities and gave it to the Regional Office of the national, central government-run Housing Corporation."
Responsibility for deciding which housing projects get the money they need now lies with regional housing boards, which have been allocating funds since April 2004.
The money, which comes from a regional housing pot, is given to developments prioritised by the Regional Housing Board.
Hereward Housing, which is the registered social landlord for the project, says it has not yet been given the money it needs to build the new flats.
It is currently waiting for its application to be considered by the board and is hoping to be allocated the money this coming financial year.
Director of development at Hereward, Mark Newstead, said: "Hereward and the council would like to develop this new scheme because it is very much needed locally.
"There is a huge need for housing for frail, elderly people and our scheme would be able to offer them the security of support and care being available round the clock while retaining their independence.
"The scheme would provide residents with a restaurant and other leisure facilities as well as housing.
"It would also be a resource for the wider older person community."
Cllr Smith said that if the money is not granted in the near future, the council will consider letting the properties again for short tenancy periods.
She said: "If the money does not come in the near future, we will quite possibly consider providing short lets for needy families in the area.
"If we do decide to make the properties available again, we will be very careful with who we put in them.
"The homes would only be available for let to people who are in desperate need of housing, and people who would fit into the community and not upset the other residents of Flaxfields."
Cllr Smith suggested that the tenancy periods would probably be in the region of six months, so that there would not be too much of a delay when the money was granted and the project was able to go ahead.
The 35 flats planned for the site would provide accommodation for elderly people who want to live independently in their own flat.
They will be secure and modern, with a communal dining room and garden.
Meals will be available to
residents, but each flat will have its own kitchen in case the resident wants to cook for his or her self.