Waters Square residents anxiously awaiting rehousing

Elderly residents in Norbiton are waiting to be rehoused following a decision by Kingston Council, last month, to demolish their sheltered accommodation.<--break->“></p>

<p>Kingston Council has told the Courier it will begin to rehouse the residents at the Waters Square sheltered housing in the next few weeks.</p>

<p>However, none of the 16 the residents, who have to go through the councils <a href=online home bidding process, have been successful in securing a home.

Before last month’s decision by the Council a number of the residents raised objections to the closure of the sheltered property. However, having lost the battle to keep their homes, most of the tenants now wish to be relocated as soon as possible. 

Bruce Parker, 65, one of the tenants, said: “The hope of staying here is gone, and we are now excited about moving out.”

All but one of the elderly residents at Waters Square have signed Kingston Council’s transfer request forms, which will give them priority on the waiting list and the opportunity to choose an area for relocation. The Council will also give the residents a home loss payment and cover removal expenses.

Mr Parker said: “There are a lot of promises at the moment and we are all living in hope, but it does appear that vacancies are not all ready for us to move, and one bedroom flats, which were promised to everyone, will not necessarily be available.”

Waiting is causing anxiety for most of the elderly residents, Mr Parker said: “People who are sick are getting sicker, and people who drink are drinking more.”

Another resident, Jim, said: “They have promised to find me somewhere in Kingston or New Malden. If it is anywhere else, I am staying put, end of story.”

Only three out of 16 tenants have access to the internet and can actively follow their bidding process, and those without a computer are relying on council officers to make bids on their behalf.

Despite concerns Councilor Moseley, Executive Member for Better Homes, is confident on council’s ability to settle the issue without difficulty, she said: “All the tenants are understandably anxious about having to move but when they view the alternatives on offer, I hope that most of the worries will be allayed. Council officers will be as helpful as possible in meeting requests to stay in the area and to be near friends.”

Due to a shortage of general needs housing, in comparison to a surplus of sheltered accomodation, after several years of discussion, Kingston Council decided to redevelop the site to meet demands for family homes. The council are hoping to build 23 homes with gardens on the site. 

The council is considering giving up the land for free to one of its registered housing companies in return for affordable homes at below the market rate.

Councillor Moseley said: “I cannot tell you which Registered Social Landlord will be developing the site; negotiations are ongoing and there is no contract in place nor any decision yet on the value to be placed on the site.”

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