Pledge To Stop London OAP Homes From Closing

A Council leader has pledged to “bring in the tanks” if a housing association’s plan to close six OAP homes goes ahead. Bexley councillors say they remain to be convinced by London & Quadrant’s (L&Q) plans for the sheltered housing scheme. Six of the association’s 16 sheltered housing schemes in the borough are earmarked for closure – affecting 200 elderly residents. Council leader Councillor Ian Clement said Bexley would withhold consent for the closures unless L&Q could convince it “the changes are necessary”.

He said: “I am disgusted by the way L&Q has gone about things. The consultation document was a disgrace and seemed to be about bricks and mortar rather than people. I have said I have instructed officers to park our tanks on their [L&Q’s] lawn to stop the process. I am determined to fight the residents’ corner and to ensure they are fully involved.”

Cllr Clement made his comments after a deputation from Mabel Crout Court in Lingfield Crescent, Welling, and Heron Crescent, off Main Road, Sidcup, appealed for support to fight the plans at a full council meeting last Wednesday.

L&Q claims there is no demand for sheltered accommodation but pensioners living at the schemes, and their families, disagree. During a tree-planting ceremony on Saturday -Armistice Day – Cllr Colin Tandy said: “If, as L&Q claims, there is no demand for such sheltered accommodation, the moon is made of cheese.”

Local press have also seen detailed plans for the six schemes under threat, suggesting L&Q plans to build private housing on the land instead. However, Paul Kingsley, director of L&Q Supported Living, said: “The drawings produced by our architects were illustrative only to demonstrate there would be alternative options in the event of a decision to close any of these homes. Should there be any redevelopment, it will be planned in consultation with Bexley council, taking account of the borough’s housing needs for the 21st century.”

A cross-party working group set up by the council to look into the proposals have now visited all six sites.

Cllr John Waters, cabinet member for regeneration and housing and chairman of the group, said the next step would be to ensure a proper consultation exercise took place.

The tree-planting was at one of the affected homes, Frank Godley Court in Sidcup, attended by Denise Blackwell, great-niece of Sidney Frank Godley after whom the home was named. He was the first private in the First World War to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Mrs Blackwell said: “I would like to thank you for remembering my great-uncle like this.”