Residents fighting to retain sheltered site

Cllr Geraldine Robinson and residents in Westerby Court are fighting to retain the single-storey sheltered accommodation complex in town
Cllr Geraldine Robinson and residents in Westerby Court are fighting to retain the single-storey sheltered accommodation complex in town

Residents are rallying against a housing association’s plans to demolish a Lutterworth sheltered accommodation block and replace it with rented homes.

Seven Locks housing association, which bought the district’s 2,100 former council housing stock and sheltered accommodation sites for £35m in 2007, wants to develop Westerby Court in Maino Crescent to replace it with 22 houses, flats and bungalows classed as affordable housing.

It will include 15 two and three-bed houses, four one-bed flats and three one-bed bungalows.

The association says the Westerby Court single-storey block of flats which was built in the 1980s is now unsuitable and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find tenants to live there.

But some Lutterworth residents are campaigning to halt the demolition and say the two-storey buildings that would replace it will be overbearing and the scheme too overcrowded.

Elizabeth Ashdown, (69), of Maino Crescent, is among the dozens of objectors.

She said: “Westerby Court is a tight-knit community and has been a haven of peace and security for elderly people.

“Rather than modernise it, Seven Locks propose to demolish it and replace it with two-storey, two and three-bed affordable family homes.

“Eleven bungalows will remain as homes for those over 55. However, they will be dominated by two-storey houses.

“Some of the residents of the bungalows are house-bound, while others live alone.

“They look out onto open green areas but this will be replaced by brick walls.

“The peace and tranquillity will be destroyed by the constant coming and going of cars.”

Another Lutterworth resident, Myra Keatley-Lill, told the Mail people do not want to lose a valuable resource for pensioners in the town and that the new plans would be out-of-keeping with the area.

Lutterworth district councillor and Harborough Council chairman Cllr Geraldine Robinson, is backing the residents.

She said: “There are too many buildings being crammed into such a small area, leaving very little green, open spaces left.”

The plan was discussed by members of the district council’s planning committee last month where councillors deferred the application and asked Seven Locks to revise the design and layout.

The changes – two fewer two and three-bedroom houses than the 17 originally proposed and repositioning buildings further back from the road – have not satisfied residents.

In a document supporting the application, Seven Locks says: “The housing mix submitted in this application directly reflects the affordable housing need identified for the area.”