Karbon Homes is planning to embark on a major redevelopment project for our Athol House sheltered housing scheme in Ponteland, Northumberland.
At Karbon we constantly review our homes to ensure that they are continuing to provide the standard of accommodation that current and future customers expect. Unfortunately, Athol House is increasingly falling short in this respect - many of the homes are bedsit-style flats which are too small and no longer appropriate for older customers, especially those with disabilities.
This project is part of a longstanding, comprehensive programme to upgrade or replace some of our older or outmoded sheltered housing with modern, energy efficient properties for our older residents.
At Athol House, we have carefully considered a range of options, including whether it would be possible to refurbish or reconfigure the existing buildings, but the type and layout of the building means that this is not practical.
We are also finding less and less demand for bedsit-style homes such as those at Athol House, as our residents increasingly aspire to live in modern, one or two bedroom apartments or bungalows.
For the above reasons we have taken the difficult decision to redevelop the site of the current Athol House. Subject to planning approval from Northumberland County Council, this redevelopment would see the building of a mixed tenure development of 32 new homes on the site of Athol House in the form of one and two-bedroom affordable rented apartments, shared ownership apartments and some apartments for market sale.
The rented apartments will be let at an Affordable Rent, on the same basis as the existing homes at Athol House. Once the new building is complete, we would welcome former residents applying for one of the new homes.
The proposed redevelopment would be funded by Karbon Homes with some grant funding from the government’s Homes England agency. As a not-for-profit organisation, without shareholders, any surplus generated from the development would be re-invested in Karbon providing more affordable homes in the communities we serve across the North East.
To enable this redevelopment work to take place, we will need to work with the residents over the coming year to help find them suitable alternative homes, either with Karbon or another social landlord.
We recognise that many of the residents will be upset by this news and it may be disruptive and unsettling. We are keen to work with residents and their families to minimise disruption wherever possible. Karbon Homes will cover all reasonable costs of our residents’ moves, and we will also provide practical help and support. The residents will also all receive a substantial compensation payment for the loss of their home. We have already held a meeting with the residents to inform them face-to-face of the redevelopment we are proposing.
Our team members are now holding follow up meetings with each of the residents individually to talk about their needs, any special circumstances and requirements, and to take time to explain all the options available to them. Families and carers have been included in these discussions where appropriate, if the residents prefer this.
We have also contacted all the local parish councillors, county councillors and the local MPs for the area where Athol House is located, to keep them informed.
We believe we have an excellent track record of investing in the redevelopment of our existing sheltered accommodation, to provide high quality new build homes. We have carried out similar projects at Trinity Court in Corbridge and at The Elms Extra Care in Chester-le-Street. We are also mid-way through a similar project in the centre of Hexham for our St Cuthbert’s Close sheltered housing.
Whenever we have had to close sheltered housing schemes in the past, we have managed to re-house our residents satisfactorily, whether in a Karbon Homes property or with another social landlord.
For any questions or concerns on this subject, please get in touch with our Older Persons team or our Development and Regeneration team on our freephone number.