Local social landlord Merlin Housing Society is looking to build “much-needed” new family homes in Filton, on the site of a sheltered housing scheme that it earmarked for a “change of use” last year.
The Chipping Sodbury-based society intends to build the properties on the site of Newleaze House in Roycroft Road – one of the supported housing schemes it is closing due to its unsuitability as housing for older people.
The social landlord had hoped to keep the existing buildings and use them for another specialist group like students, but research has shown this option – which was also unpopular with local residents – to be unfeasible.
Peter Crouch, Development Manager for the organisation, said:
“We’ve made a decision based on our Business Plan and our finances, but it has also taken into account the views of our community and local councillors.”
“We want to be an organisation that listens and that’s what we have done. We hope this level of feedback will continue as we look to consult with people who live in the surrounding area on our plans for the site.”
The majority of residents of Newleaze House agreed with the proposal to close the outdated scheme. Most have taken the opportunity to move into Bluebell Gardens, Merlin’s brand new Independent Living Community in Bradley Stoke.
Merlin Housing Society has also arranged for an organisation that houses essential workers like nurses and police officers to let the property until the site is cleared.
Mr Crouch added:
“People told us they were worried that it would become a target for vandals if it was left empty, so we came up with a solution that will allay those fears.”
“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to hopefully satisfy them, house people we all rely on in the short term, and reduce the waiting list for housing in South Gloucestershire in the long term.”
Newleaze House is formed of a linked series of separate units with many internal steps and four staircases, making it unsuitable for older people, according to the housing association.
Last year, Merlin conducted a formal consultation with the 40 tenants and “almost half” gave their formal feedback on the options presented. Three quarters of those responding agreed with the recommended option, i.e. a “change of use”.
Principal source: Press release from Merlin Housing Society.