I don’t know how they can force a 102-year-old to move out
Published on: 21 Mar 2014
By Rebecca Day
Concerns have been raised about a redevelopment programme that is set to demolish a number of homes across Filton.
The work is part of Merlin Housing Society’s (MHS) £20 million programme to refurbish 1,000 non-traditional homes across South Gloucestershire and redevelop 450 homes.
Rodney Crescent, where 92-year-old Carol Mallett has been living for 60 years, is one of the roads in Filton which is set to have houses demolished.
Mrs Mallett said: “All we’ve been given is a date, which is Christmas 2015. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. Until we’ve been told otherwise, we’re just going to keep our fingers crossed. We’ve just got a cloud hanging over our heads - it feels dreadful.”
Over the last three years, Mrs Mallett has had a new kitchen and a walk-in bathroom - all fitted by MHS.
She says that there are no problems of damp with the building.
She added: “It’s ludicrous that they want to have it all knocked down. We’ve also got very big gardens too - I think they may want the land rather than houses.”
Mrs Mallett says that her 102-year-old neighbour is adamant that she is not going to move.
“I don’t see how they’re going to try and make a person move house at that age,” she said. “We have such a community spirit here - and this is the reason we don’t want to move.”
MHS owns more than 1,400 non-traditional homes in South Gloucestershire, which were built after the Second World War to meet the demand for the housing.
According to the MHS website, many of the houses suffer from problems such as damp and draughts. The housing society says that unless they carry out work, the properties will develop structural problems in years to come.
Residents were informed of the redevelopment in 2012, MHS says.
The housing group has been sending out quarterly newsletters and holding open events to keep the residents informed.
According to MHS, residents will have the option to move back into the house after the redevelopment, and in the meantime, a house will be provided that is suitable for them.
MHS spokesperson, Hywel Lloyd, said: “There will be a housing officer working on the project, and will have meetings to find out residents’ circumstances.
“We have a strong process in place, as we understand that moving can be stressful. There might be houses available for them just around the corner.”
The work is part of MHS’s promise to residents when it took over South Gloucestershire Council’s housing stock in 2007.
The refurbishment programme, which is to begin in April, will involve work to the outside of the homes, and it is expected to take between five to eight weeks.
MHS has assured that people will be able to stay in their homes whilst the refurbishment takes place.
Mr Lloyd, said: “We aim to carry out the refurbishment as quickly as possible, with little disruption caused. The refurbishment has so far gone very well, and it has been warmly welcomed by residents.”
Merlin Housing Society told Filton town councillors that residents in the rebuild programme, who will have to move out of their home for at least six months, will be relocated as close as possible to their current home.
Councillor Kieran Hyde said that he was worried the ‘key driver’ for the work was the opportunity to build more homes on large garden
Merlin also said that there was advice and possible funding available for residents who lived in a ‘non-traditional’ home but who owned the property themselves.