Sheltered housing residents put 'at risk' by warden changes

SHELTERED housing residents could be put at risk by a council s plan to remove dedicated wardens, a resident has claimed. South Cambridgeshire district council needs to slash �2.2million from its budget for 2010/11, meaning �500,000 of spending has to be

SHELTERED housing residents could be put at risk by a council's plan to remove dedicated wardens, a resident has claimed.

South Cambridgeshire district council needs to slash �2.2million from its budget for 2010/11, meaning �500,000 of spending has to be cut from the housing budget.

The council is proposing to replace dedicated wardens at the district's 42 sheltered housing schemes with two eight-person roving support teams covering the entire district. This will result in the loss of 19 posts in the housing department, with 12 people being made redundant.

The council's cabinet will consider the proposals at its meeting today (Thursday).


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People living at John Impey Way sheltered housing scheme in Melbourn were informed about the scheme at a meeting last week.

Melbourn resident Clive Porter, who attended the meeting, said: "It's an unacceptable state of affairs. Residents are being put at risk by there not being a warden on site at all times. How can these two teams cover an entire district effectively?"

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Cllr Mark Howell, portfolio holder for housing at the district council, said the council is in a "very difficult position" as it looks to cut costs.

He said: "Of course we want to be able to offer the very best level of service we can - but it has to be affordable.

"Every month we have to hand �1million of our rent money to government - that's approaching 60 per cent of what we collect. We have to run the service on what's left - and it's not enough to continue our current levels of service. To meet our legal requirements, we have to make the books balance."

In total 30 posts could go at the council as it looks to come to terms with the recession, which has led to reduced income from savings and from the proceeds of planning applications.

Cllr Ray Manning, leader of the council, said, "We are trying to protect vital services that we know are important to our residents. We've taken a long, hard look at back office support functions to see where we can be more efficient in order to free up money for frontline services.

"Clearly, the two are dependent on each other, and it's important that we get the balance right.

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