Pensioners concerns over Council sheltered housing plans

Lincoln Court

Occupants of Lincoln Court had their first chance on Thursday to comment on the Council’s plans to modernise their sheltered accommodation.

In the main, the upgrade plans – which include new kitchens, bathrooms, heating and wiring, new front doors and windows, a new door entry system, roof repairs and external & internal decoration – were welcomed.

However, concern was expressed over the time that residents would be expected to live on a “building site”. This arises out of the proposal to demolish the adjacent Windsor House building and replace it with a centre for the disabled.

Proposed new layout

Residents, most of whom are in their 70’s and 80’s, felt that they could be inconvenienced for as long as three years while the work took place.

It emerged at the meeting that most of the work on Lincoln Court would not be undertaken until the adjacent new building had been completed. This led residents to point out that the noise and dust generated by any demolition process would filter into their living areas because of the inadequacies of the existing doors and windows.

Prior to the meeting the Councils plans to address parking and traffic congestion problems on Ascot Way had been criticised and these issues were raised again by residents. Residents were particularly angry that they might be expected to pay for residents parking permits because of pressure on staff parking. A plan was also needed to address parking needs during the building and modernisation phases.

Residents are also concerned that the existing bus stop – located outside Windsor House – is not shown on the new plans.

One resident went further and said

Hedges blocked view and light from Lincoln Court flats last summer

The new homes will take away our landing sitting areas, take away all light in the corridors and fill the few outside areas we have. The small, existing garden will not be freely available as we are to become, in effect, a community centre and can only access it via the community room (which is to be in use most of the time). We are also expected to cover all the running costs of the shared facilities as the fuel costs are shared by residents and no charges made to outside departments, clients etc. Even the electricity costs of all the offices and rest areas will be paid by us – we were told that it isn’t a problem at other developments & we can also use facilities! Not good enough”. 

Officials have apparently threatened to install security doors on each corridor prompting concerns that the building would resemble a “prison”.

Residents had complained last year about the Councils failure to cut a tall hedge at the rear of the properties. The hedge effectively blocked light from the flats, prompting a feeling of isolation.

The consultation event was dismissed by some as a “paper exercise” and there were calls for a fundamental rethink before planning permission was sought.

Local Councillors are now looking into the issues raised.

£1.4 million Lincoln Court upgrade announced

The Council will spend £1.4 million upgrading the Lincoln Court sheltered housing scheme on Ascot Way next year.

Lincoln Court

A report be considered next week recommends modernising the existing 26 flats while building an extension which will provide an additional 8 units designed for dementia sufferers.

The extension will also provide a base for mobile care workers.This new build feature had not previously been revealed in the Councils plans.

The 4 existing “bedsits” will be converted into flats.

There is currently a shortfall, against demand, of over 1000 units of sheltered accommodation in the City.

The major upgrade will provide:

  1. 8 new, one bed apartments which will be dementia friendly.
  2. Conversion of 4 existing bedsits into 4 one bed apartments.
  3. A new and improved entrance lobby, communal facilities including a community lounge, WC, assisted bathing, hairdressing/therapy room, buggy store, office/s for care and other staff, gardens and improved car parking.

Planned investment and maintenance plans already included:

  • the installation of a new communal boiler and plant room;
  • the modernisation of individual flats to include new kitchen, bathroom, heating and wiring;
  • new front doors and windows;
  • a new door entry system
  • roof works;
  • external & internal decoration;
  • some high level external works to rainwater goods and asbestos soffits.

It is expected that, as soon as the budget for the scheme is agreed, existing tenants will be fully consulted on the implications of the building plans. With the adjacent Windsor House set to be demolished at the same time, some inconvenience is inevitable.

Residents are likely to question whether the inclusion of an office base on the site – together with the changes brought by the erection of the disability centre next door – might have a significant impact on traffic and parking issues in the area.

Lincoln Court modernisation – decision on 15th March

Lincoln Court

We have reported previously that the decision to demolish Windsor House in Ascot Way would have a knock on effect on the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation.  The heating boiler for both buildings is located within Windsor House.

It became clear last week that the council had allocated £60,000 in its budget to replace all the windows at Lincoln Court. A much needed improvement.

Now we understand that another report is to be presented to the Councils Executive committee on 15th March. The report will talk about remodelling the communal areas in the building and modernising/remodeling the apartments.

If approved, the new building would be dubbed “Sheltered Housing Plus”.

The Council says that  the users of the current community facilities will also be engaged in shaping the re-design and the development of the new facilities and services. The work would be undertaken as part of the Council’s “Older peoples programme”. This project has a poor reputation in the Westfield area officials having run roughshod over the views of those local residents who wanted to conserve the Lowfields playing fields.

The programme officials also threatening to fence off the open space on Chesney’s Field, causing more anger from locals.

The older persons programme is massively in delay with new elderly care facilities, promised for 2014, still not off the ground.

Hopefully any consultation will be more meaningful on this occasion.

Better news for Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court

Elderly residents of sheltered accommodation units at Lincoln Court can expect the building to be modernised next year,.

Top of the priority list is new windows although a  general uplift is also needed.

The building was discussed yesterday at the Councils Executive committee meeting which decided to close the adjacent Windsor House elderly persons home.

The two buildings share a heating system.

Residents of Lincoln Court had been left in suspense while Council officials consulted about closure plans but it now seems that the future of the sheltered accommodation is secure.

A report on the future of the Windsor House site is expected early next year. One is suggestion is that a “centre of excellence” for disabled people should be built there.

The Council will first have to address chronic traffic congestion and parking problems in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way/Windsor Garth area.

 

Future of Windsor House site being discussed

Proposal for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children

Windsor House

A report is being discussed next week which is expected to result in confirmation of plans to close the Windsor House elderly persons home on Ascot Way. The proposal was first discussed in September and now Council officials are reporting back on the discussions that they have had with residents, their relations and staff.

5 residents have recently moved out leaving 17 to find new homes. The Council says that there is currently a good supply of alternative accommodation options available including Glen Lodge.

The care home has 33 staff in total, the majority of who work part time.

The main criticism of the closure relates to timing. Promised modern elderly care facilities on the west of the City will not be available for 2 or 3 years.

Lincoln Court

Hedges blocked view and light from Lincoln Court flats in the summer

Considerable concerns have been expressed by residents of the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered development.

These self-contained flats which include some communal space, are not included in the closure plans. However, the building has been allowed to deteriorate recently. Window frames are rotten, while an ongoing criticism has been about poor management of parking facilities.  Some boundary hedges weren’t cut in the summer, effectively isolated the elderly residents from the rest of the community.

York must do better in the way that it treats its tenants at Lincoln Court. They need to be given

assurances about the future of their flats as well as a date when modernisation works will commence.

The future of the Windsor Garth site

The Council has unveiled what seems to be a caring and imagination use for the Ascot Way site when the existing buildings have been demolished.

The report describes a possible state of the art facility for disabled children

 

“Should Windsor House close, the site could be redeveloped as the location for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children and their Families, for housing or sold.”

Just as society doesn’t always treat the elderly as well as it should, the same could be said of people with disabilities. The principle of the proposed facility would therefore be welcome.

However, there are two significant issues to be addressed before any further development is considered in this neighbourhood.

Traffic congestion and lack of off street parking are now major problems.

They have worsened since 66 additional homes were built on the Hob Stones site and were exacerbated by the Council decision not to let the garages in Newbury Avenue pending the redevelopment of that site. The two issues are linked with inadequate “on street” parking space making access difficult even for the bus service.

There have been calls to introduce a “one way” system or even reopen the second access from Kingsway West.

Whatever the solution may be, one must be found before any development takes place which could further increase vehicle movements in the area.

Windsor House to close

Shock as Ascot Way elderly persons home faces early axe

The media are claiming today that Windsor House will be the next home to be closed by the City of York Council.

Although the closure is not unexpected, it had been anticipated that the home would remain open until alternative facilities were provided in the Acomb area.

Originally the plan had been to offer residents places at a brand-new care village which was to have been built on the former Lowfields school site. That project is running 5 years behind schedule and does not yet even have planning permission.

Another option – to replace the facility on the Oakhaven site – also is running behind schedule.

The Council is putting most of its effort and money into the east of the city. The sale of the Windsor House site – and parcels of land at Lowfields – will be used to finance a big home and leisure complex at Burnholme.

Windsor House residents, and their relatives, are likely to be very angry if places cannot be provided in Acomb to ensure that links with families and friends are sustained.

Some of the 34 members of staff at the home may face redundancy although, as there is a chronic shortage of care staff in the City, most will have a choice of alternative jobs should they choose to remain in the sector.

The closure would mean that the last Council run elderly persons home in the Westfield Ward would close. There is a private home on Gale Lane.

The sheltered accommodation at places like Gale Farm and Lincoln Court are not directly affected by the decision.

Lincoln Court garden gets volunteer uplift

 

Council agrees to improve refuse collection at elderly persons flats

Lincoln Court

Residents at the Lincoln Court elderly persons accommodation on Ascot Way recently asked local Councillors to sort out some issues for them. The issues were (with the Councils response in brackets where it has been received):

  1. Arrange, when the season is right, for the hedge on the boundary of the Lincoln Court gardens and Hob Moor School to be substantially reduced in height. Residents like to feel involved in the community and a view of the school playing fields reduces the sense of isolation. The hedge – which used to be trimmed regularly – also restricts the amount of natural light which Lincoln Court enjoys
  1. Arrange for the recycling bins to be emptied more frequently that the current 4/6 weekly cycle (Council has said that they will be done fortnightly in future)
  2. For the car park to be swept

    Hedges block view and light from flats

  1. For weed killer to be applied where necessary. Residents say that they could help with this.
  1. For additional parking space to be provided next to Windsor House. The Lincoln Court car park is frequently filled with vehicles not associated with the sheltered housing scheme. This makes it difficult for people visiting residents.
  1. Arrange for the gutters on the building to be cleared of debris. A particular problem on the conservatory roof. (The Council has said that the gutters will be cleared before the end of June)

Meanwhile the Council reports that, to begin a summer of gardening in national Volunteer Week, a group of young people who have experienced homelessness brushed up the Lincoln Court garden on Thursday..

The tenants at Lincoln Court, a City of York Council sheltered accommodation scheme in Acomb really value their garden, especially in the summer where it’s a great place to meet up with friends and have a chat.

Blocked gutters

So a year after a group of young people supported by staff spruced up the outdoor space, the Enable team has returned in national Volunteer Week (1-7 June) to maintain its good work and continued goodwill.

Enable is a collaboration between the council’s 60+ housing specialist service, Homebase and SASH, a supported lodging scheme for young people who have experienced homelessness.

Generously supported by Homebase which kindly supplies materials,over the past two years, Enable has made a real and lasting difference to the lives of older people with its 13 makeover challenges. These have included decorating, landscaping, weeding and planting; all designed to give the young people the skills they will need when they move into their own place.

Besides cutting back an undergrowth of ivy with the help of a resident, the team tidied up a wooden sitting arbour and laid bark and paving stones around it.

Martin Farran, corporate director of health, housing and adult social care at City of York Council, said: “Enable is an ingenious intergenerational skill share, where older and young people are brought together to benefit the community, share skills and get to know each other.

“Residents of our sheltered accommodation schemes benefit as do local young people and our thanks go out to them all for taking part and making these improvements.”

Gary Hogg, SASH active project co-ordinator, said: “We are very proud of Enable and the 14 projects that we have completed to date with Homebase and the council. It is a simple idea of people coming together to help each other. In doing so our young people are given the opportunity to learn new skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem, forge new friendships and be involved in the local communities in which they live. Homebase’s generosity in providing materials ensures this programme continues and we’re very grateful for their support.”

Mathew Brown, deputy store manager at Homebase, York, said: “Homebase York is very happy to support the great work done by SASH and will continue to do so into the future.”

Ex homeless young people make over Lincoln Court garden

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court

Today,  Friday 26 August, a group of young people who have experienced homelessness will be sprucing up the gardens at Lincoln Court, a City of York Council sheltered accommodation scheme in Acomb.

The gardeners are part of Enable, a project that brings together young people from the Safe and Supported Housing (SASH) scheme and older people who need a helping hand. The younger people are challenged to complete tasks such as decorating and gardening identified by the council’s 60+ housing specialist service. They are helped with the work by council and SASH staff.

Through SASH, a supported lodging scheme in York, the young people learn skills they will need when they have a place of their own while the older people get to pass on their knowledge and make new friends. The scheme is supported by Homebase which generously and regularly donates materials to it.  (more…)