Residents' views must be reflected

PUBLISHED: 13:10 26 July 2007 | UPDATED: 15:12 12 May 2010

IN response to recent articles and the deep concern about the much loved sheltered accommodation at Wheatsheaf Meadow, Barkway, I feel the time has come to air my concerns. As the local county councillor I was unaware of the plans until I read The Crow a

IN response to recent articles and the deep concern about the much loved sheltered accommodation at Wheatsheaf Meadow, Barkway, I feel the time has come to air my concerns.

As the local county councillor I was unaware of the plans until I read The Crow and since have worked with local parties, district councillor and the parish council to find out the exact facts.

I understand the what and why. North Herts Homes has carried out a comprehensive review of these facilities and worked within both Government guidelines and Housing Corporation policy, to which unfortunately this accommodation due to changes will not meet. Coupled with the apparent fact, this facility has not been occupied at a level to meet the criteria to receive the statutory sheltered housing grant.

The difficult decision to close one wing has caused a great deal of anxiety and fear for these vulnerable people and as the local elected representative I will personally do all in my power to ensure the right outcome. Those who wish to remain within the local community must be supported and aided to have a facility which meets both their aspirations and needs, also it must reflect the requirements of our village community.

I believe that NHH could and should have involved local public bodies earlier in a pro-active manner and explained its difficulties, and now must suffer the backlash of our distress.

The positive assurance I have from the chief executive of NHH is that the wing retained is a positive attempt to preserve this scheme in the long-term and that it will make every effort to meet the needs and wishes of the residents.

The time frame for the wing closure will be extended as long as possible and those who wish to be accommodated elsewhere closer to loved ones and family will be assisted.

NHH is still at this stage, talking to both residents and their families and the conclusion must reflect their desires.

TONY HUNTER

County Councillor

North Herts Rural

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