Sheltered housing scheme in Hilgay set to be closed

Elderly residents at a sheltered housing scheme in a west Norfolk village will be moved to new accommodation, it emerged last night.

Freebridge Community Housing has announced its decision to close Willow Lodge, in Hilgay, near Downham Market, after consulting tenants.

The housing association, which owns and manages some 6,800 homes, said the complex is currently not providing a high standard of accommodation and is in need of extensive modernisation.

Robert Clarke, assistant director of housing at Freebridge, said: 'At the heart of what we do is a commitment to providing our tenants with good quality homes.

'At the moment this scheme does not offer access to facilities and services, making it difficult for the tenants to undertake everyday tasks.

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'The scheme is not meeting existing housing need and demand, it is under–occupied and there are no people on our waiting list who want to move to Willow Lodge.'

Mr Clarke continued: 'We are fully committed to supporting the tenants through this process and our staff have started to find alternative accommodation, which meet the needs of the tenants.

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'The tenants' moves are being supported by our resident liaison officers.

'We will provide support in every phase of the moving process, through activities such as packing and removal services, and we will respond to what the tenant needs.

'This is going to be a gradual process and one which we will handle with care and sensitivity.'

Freebridge does not currently have 'firm' long term plans for Willow Lodge, which was built in 1970 and has 16 flats.

But Mr Clarke said: 'What we do intend to do is work with partners to find a solution for the site which allows it to meet local housing need.

'We are committed to providing all our tenants with good quality accommodation and access to services and through this process, we will be able to provide Willow Lodge tenants with a better standard of home.'

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