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Narrow escape for modernisation scheme for sheltered housing

March 23, 2006 12:00 PM

Executive City Councillor for Housing and Health, Cllr Catherine Smart, has today expressed her relief that a Labour 'wrecking amendment' failed to destroy the whole refurbishment scheme for sheltered housing in Cambridge.

Many of Cambridge City Council's sheltered homes at the moment are bed-sits with shared bathroom facilities and so the Council have begun a scheme to remodel them into self-contained flats with their own facilities. Sheltered housing is funded by the "Supporting People" fund and so the modernisation scheme must meet the Fund's approval. In this case this will require selling one site following a County-wide survey which found that Cambridge had 50 places more than it needed. Tiverton House was chosen as the site to be sold because of its close proximity to other schemes so that any tenants moved will be able to stay in the same area if they wish. Tenants will also be helped in this move. Not only will the sale of Tiverton House help fund the remodelling of the other sheltered schemes but it is also necessary to retain the support of the "Supporting People" Fund for the project.

Last night at a Housing Management Board meeting an amendment was proposed to stop the sale of Tiverton House. This would have stopped the entire modernisation scheme. The amendment was defeated at the meeting, allowing the modernisation to go ahead.

Cllr Catherine Smart commented:

"I was very surprised when Labour produced their wrecking amendment.

"I had expected that they would support the scheme to provide comfortable modern flats for the residents of sheltered schemes. Either they don't support the scheme or they can't add up. If that amendment had gone through all the plans for the sheltered schemes could not have gone ahead. The finances have to add up; we cannot proceed on a wish and a hope. We have to be realistic about where the money's coming from."