Victory Housing Trust announces �3.5m demolition/conversion hopes for sheltered-housing schemes in Stalham, Ludham and Horning

Elderly residents at three north Norfolk sheltered-housing schemes have been told their landlord wants to demolish or convert their homes as part of a multi-million pound modernisation project.

Victory Housing Trust announced this week its 'preferred options' for three sites dating from the mid-1960s, in Ludham, Stalham and Horning, which all contain a high number of out-dated bedsits.

Victory wants to:

? Demolish all 18 properties in School Close, Ludham, and build new homes at an estimated cost of more than �1.5m;

? Demolish 19 of its 39 homes in Portalfield, Stalham, and rebuild - costing more than �1.5m;

? Convert 14 bedsits and one-bedroomed homes among its 24 properties in Leeds Way, Horning - costing about �500,000.

The options were revealed at a series of drop-in sessions with residents, their families and other interested parties this week.

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John Archibald, Victory chief executive, stressed that no decisions would be taken until July and there was time for people to comment. A final announcement would be made in October.

If the preferred options were given final approval by the Victory board, the trust would work closely with all those affected to find them suitable alternative accommodation, either temporary or permanent, according to individual need.

Residents who had to move permanently would be entitled to a 'home loss payment' of �4,700. There would also be disruption cash available to help people with the costs of moving and a dedicated member of staff would be appointed to support and advise residents throughout the process.

Mr Archibald said bedsits, combining a bedroom and living room, were unpopular and difficult to let but he recognised that they had been some people's homes for many years.

'We don't do this lightly. We have put a serious amount of planning into it. Doing nothing is not an option. We would be left with inadequate accommodation which nobody wants,' he said.

New one and two-bed homes would meet modern standards and be easier to maintain and cheaper to keep warm for residents. As units on all three sites had become vacant over recent months, Victory had not found replacement tenants, in order to minimise the number of people disrupted by modernisation, and to free-up homes which could be used as temporary accommodation for those displaced while building work was under way.

There were currently seven empty homes in Ludham, nine in Stalham and four in Horning. As many affected residents as possible would be offered the option of one of the new homes in Stalham and Horning, and those at Ludham would be given priority for any one-bedroom homes built on the site which may cease to be a sheltered scheme in future.

Mr Archibald estimated that, after completion, there would 'broadly be the same number of units' in Stalham and Ludham, and fewer in Horning.

'We may have fewer units but we will have units which are in demand and we will be losing units which nobody wants,' he added.

Victory began exploring ideas for the sites in October 2011 and has already held a series of consultation meetings with residents.

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