100 signatures reached
To: HARBOROUGH DISTRICT COUNCIL & PLATFORM PLUS Ltd
BATTLE FOR NASEBY SQUARE 2020
Stop Planning Application that will destroy a purpose built Council Social and Sheltered Housing Complex
Why is this important?
Naseby Square Social & Sheltered Housing Complex was a visionary development of 44 bungalows in the 1950s for older adults who needed small bungalows. The complex flourished and in the 1980s was expanded with the building of two blocks of 8 flats for those needing sheltered/supported living. Also, one bungalow became a Warden’s Office, another became a small Communal Lounge and two others were expanded and made into a fine Community Hall.
All went well for a few decades. Then in 2014 Harborough District Council (HDC) decided it wanted to develop a small former garaging site for housing. They bought adjoining plots that failed to give appropriate access for development to take place. So they started negotiations with 7 Locks Housing Association who still owned the complex. But they were in the process of a take-over by the Platform Housing Group (PPLtd).
HDC and PHG started to negotiate for demolition of 7 of the original bungalows, 8 of the newer Sheltered units, the Small Communal Lounge, the Warden’s Office and the Community Hall. They were all said to be unfit or surplus to requirements! Unfortunately the truth is rather different as Freedom of Information revealed:
Following take-over by PPLtd (31.03.2018) tenants stated that there were only one or two vacancies in the bungalows and flats. We know the Community Hall had a regular extensive programme of usage until PPLtd notified the users that they could no longer guarantee availability of the Community Hall. Users went elsewhere thus creating no usage. PHG have only used it since May 2018 for meetings notifying tenants of the development plans.
HDC told PPLtd they could save costly repairs and maintenance until Planning Consent at the July 2018 Committee! No repairs or maintenance were carried out until tenants and supporters demanded action in December 2019.
The Warden service was slashed to 2 sessions per week; contact with PPLtd staff is only via an automated phone line in Solihull. PHG staff agreed that they knew repairs and maintenance requests were not being responded to.
The last tenant moved elsewhere in January 2020 – a frail 97 year old woman! The last but one tenant was 80, had waited 5 weeks to be transferred in December 2019. No ramp, nor handrails and grab handles had been fitted and the Emergency Call system was not functioning! Contrary to reports by PPLtd others were not happy with their move.
The tenants have been treated appallingly. HDC told us to deal with PPLtd as it was not their responsibility. We did and some work started – but none was for homes due for demolition where tenants still awaited removal. Certain of Planning Consent PPLtd then stripped out heating systems from those due for demolition early in 2020. Security had become a problem and tenants lived anxiously due to hearing their own doors being tested late at night!
HDC and PPLtd plan to squeeze 38 homes into a site equal to about a dozen plots similar in size to the surrounding housing! None will replace demolished homes. This will create additional problems on the narrow approach streets that are mainly terraced housing with no room for existing on road car parking of residents’ cars! The Planning Officer like us feels that this scheme is totally inappropriate for the area in which it is taking place.
We suggest PPLtd replace bungalows that have been deliberately allowed to deteriorate and that they care for their tenants, and utilise the duty of care by re-utilising the Community Hall and re-instating proper Warden support. Let HDC’s former garaging site be turned into off-street parking for those who need it whilst retaining the now well established small wild-life habitat. HDC have still got a large plot that gives them an opportunity to explore some development if they can negotiate permissive access to that land. We note an officer involved with that acquisition vanished without working any notice!
We believe inappropriate behaviours by staff of HDC and PPLtd are responsible for ruining what was a supportive and happy community. Those who remain are in fear of what will happen to them in the future.
Please sign our petition and let HDC & PPLtd know that they have already ruined elderly people’s lives by their ill-considered plans.
How it will be delivered
Deliver petition listing to Harborough District Council Planning Officer. With a previous petition collected on papers from local people.