Council leaders have signed off on plans to seek Government funding for the redevelopment of an Uckfield retirement community.
At a meeting of Wealden District Council’s cabinet on Wednesday (September 5), council leaders approved plans which could see the redevelopment of a retirement living scheme at Streatfeild House in Southview Drive, Uckfield.
As a result the council is to apply for additional Government funding to demolish and replace the existing facilities with 55 new retirement homes – increasing the total number of retirement properties by 11.
Speaking in favour of the scheme, cabinet member for housing and benefits Graham Wells said it would represent the ‘best return’ out of all the options for the site.
Cllr Wells said: “[We should] take this golden opportunity now, to bid for money now in the hope that it will enable a good scheme to be produced and provided at Streatfeild House now, rather than having to wait until later even to do a remodelling.”
He also told cabinet members how the current facilities are more than 50-years-old and will need up to £1m of refurbishment work over the next four years. This would cost the council more than the rental income during the same period, Cllr Wells said.
The majority of the existing units are also bedsits, Cllr Wells said, which the council has a policy to replace with newer facilities.
Cllr Wells also recommended that existing residents be allowed to move to the nearby Grants Hill House and be offered home loss payments should the scheme move ahead.
The council is expected to carry out further feasibility work before making a final decision on which scheme to adopt, although the 55-unit retirement redevelopment is currently the preferred option.
Other options put forward in a report by officers include remodelling the existing facility or building general needs housing on the site instead.
Council leader Bob Standley said: “I’m very supportive, I think we need new units other than bedsits. Ever since I have been on this council we’ve been saying bedsits are not the ideal accommodation. It’s not what people want.
“It is good we have got all the options here, but I think a lot of them are not options because they are not attractive.
“If we can get the grant from the Government that would be great, if not we will have to look at something else. But, at this point, I think we should be confident as it is the kind of scheme the Government should be supporting.”