£7million Luminus development to force St Ives residents out of homes

Langley Close

Langley Close - Credit: Archant

SOCIAL landlord Luminus has announced a £7million new ‘extra care’ home will be built in St Ives ... but some of the current residents say they are being forced to move out.

Luminus plans to demolish the existing homes for 57 people and replace them with ‘extra care’ accommodation – for residents who recquire four visits a day from care workers – after it secured a £2m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency and a loan from Huntingdonshire District Council.

The new facility for 55 people will be similar to the company’s flagship Park View development in Huntingdon and will include disabled access, assisted bathrooms, extra storage space, lounge, restaurant, library, hairdressing salon and sensory garden.

Some apartments will have covered balconies overlooking a garden.

Nigel Finney, executive director (operations), said: “Luminus is delighted to announce this ground-breaking new development, which will provide high-quality homes and services to elderly residents and a fantastic community hub for St Ives.

“We are grateful to our partner agencies, especially Huntingdonshire District Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, who have supported our vision from the outset and enabled it to become a reality.”

The project, due to be completed in 2015, has upset some Langley Court residents and their relatives. Alan Blackley, whose mother lives in Langley Court, said he was “at a loss to describe my disgust at the treatment given to the elderly residents”.

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Mr Blackley said that around six current residents qualified for the extra care.

He told The Hunts Post: “I’m just disgusted in the way the whole thing was handled. They got a note from Luminus on Friday, July 19, inviting them for a coffee morning on the following Monday saying we have exciting news for you. The exciting news was they were being made homeless.

“Some of them have been living there for more than 20 years and have been told they are to move into flats or bungalows in the community, where they had escaped from in the first place.

“There are people there who are in their 90s and it’s not the right time to be moving people.”

Mr Blackley, 46, of Chapel Close, Needingworth, added: “It will break up the community as well. They enjoy each other’s company and look out for each other but they will be split up.”

Luminus spokesman Simon Leher said the social landlord would be giving residents resettlement and disruption payments and priority for new homes in the area, as well as paying for all moving fees.

He added: “We would like to reassure residents that we have managed this process for three similar developments, and are committed to supporting them as they transition to their new home.

“We have begun scheduling individual meetings with residents and their families, to talk to each resident in turn about their specific needs and where they would like to relocate.”