Anger over planned changes to Little Sutton sheltered housing scheme

Smithy Court elderly residents and Labour protest planned cuts

Elderly sheltered residents of Smithy Court, Little Sutton are angry and dismayed they may lose their residential manager

Elderly residents are angry and dismayed at proposed changes to their sheltered housing scheme.

Labour councillors say the borough council has cut its housing related support for such schemes.

This has led Muir Housing, which runs Smithy Court on Smithy Lane, Little Sutton, to propose changes for the residents who live there.

The scheme provides flats for independent living with support if needed for the over 55s.

At present help is available round the clock either through a residential manager or through an emergency pull cord system.

Under the proposals, residents would lose their resident warden.

A manager would only be available from 9pm to 5pm on weekdays and residents would have to pay increased fees for their telecare service.

Cllr Angela Claydon, Labour councillor for St Paul’s ward in Little Sutton, said: “Residents contacted me as they were very upset at these changes.

“Many had contracts which stated there would be a resident warden. They feel very anxious and say that this would see a dramatic loss in their feelings of safety and security.

“The current manager is highly valued and leads many of the varied social activities which the residents enjoy.”

Cllr Justin Madders, prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Ellesmere Port, added: “I am appalled at the way these proposals have come about. This will lead to a drastic change for the residents.

“We have started a petition which already has more than 700 signatures to ask both the Tory council and Muir to think again.”

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the full council when Cllr Claydon asked social care and health chief Cllr Brenda Dowding (Con) if she would ‘explain the changes in support funding to sheltered housing schemes’.

Cllr Dowding explained an assessment carried out in 2012 ‘showed us that many older people were choosing to remain in their own homes and with the increase in extra care provision many customers were choosing alternative accommodation offers rather than traditional sheltered accommodation schemes’.

Due to this,w arrangements for housing related support within sheltered accommodation schemes had been reviewed and 12 months notice had been given to providers that a care and support contract would cease.

“We worked with those providers to ensure that there would be no disruption to clients and consequently many of the services provided previously have continued,” said Cllr Dowding.

Cllr Claydon pointed out the residential manager at Smithy Court was in residents’ tenancy agreements and asked if she would reverse the measure.

Cllr Dowding replied she was not willing to do so and ‘instances of particular difficulties’ should be referred to the council’s officers.

“I’m sure they will discuss the matter with the people concerned,” she said.

“The new service we are offering is far better than the old.”

The councillors are to ask for a meeting with Muir to discuss the residents’ concerns.

An e-petition has been registered and can be signed on the Cheshire West and Chester website.

 
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