Fears for residents of sheltered housing complex as move plan is announced

Crown Gardens sheltered housing complex, in Alconbury. Picture: GOOGLE

Crown Gardens sheltered housing complex, in Alconbury. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

The neighbours of a sheltered accommodation complex in Alconbury say they are concerned that plans to close the facility and convert it into temporary accommodation are unsuitable for the village.

Housing association Luminus has confirmed that it is in the process of closing the Crown Gardens sheltered scheme owing to a “long-term lack of demand”.

The Huntingdon-based firm added that it was now in discussion with Huntingdonshire District Council about converting the premises into short-term lets, which neighbours believe will be for local families who have been made homeless.

Crown Gardens has fewer than 10 residents remaining and they are being offered alternative accommodation and support by Luminus, including compensation running into thousands of pounds.

However, neighbours of the complex say they fear the village is not suitable for the short-term lets because of a lack of amenities and poor public transport.

In a letter to councillors, Roger Read, who lives in High Street, said: “A quiet village location is hardly the most appropriate place to house young families who may be in need of much social support.

“The village has very limited public transport with the closest town, Huntingdon, being five miles away. The facilities that would be of benefit to homeless families are largely absent from the village of Alconbury, leaving a very worrying gap in day time entertainment for the families.

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“As villagers, cognisant of the known issues around Coneygear Court in Huntingdon, there is also real worry that a quiet village such as Alconbury would be materially harmed due to the location’s inability to provide local support and everyday entertainment for the proposed families.”

Luminus said it would be consulting with Alconbury Parish Council and with district councillors about the plan.

A spokesman said: “Crown Gardens is a sheltered scheme in Alconbury. Due to a long-term lack of demand, regrettably, Luminus has had no option but to close the scheme. We are offering support and alternative accommodation to the remaining seven residents.

“Taking local housing needs into account, Huntingdonshire District Council and Luminus have discussed the future use of Crown Gardens for short-term lets. We will consult on this with the district and parish councillors representing the ward in the next few weeks.”