South Lakes Housing (SLH) have spoken with residents to inform them about the eventual closure of the Yewbarrow Lodge Sheltered Housing scheme in Grange-Over-Sands. The decision was taken following a review of current and future demand for sheltered housing, where currently a third of the flats remain vacant with some empty for over two years.
SLH acknowledge that it is very upsetting news that the scheme is being closed. The preferred option was to adapt the scheme into ‘extra care housing’ but the scheme was not considered suitable by the County Council.
The priority is to talk to individual residents and their families face-to-face and provide them with advice and information about alternative housing options. SLH will ensure that there is support and a package of financial assistance available to help residents move. Each resident will have a named officer who will take them through the whole moving process. Financial assistance is also available to cover the loss of their home and help with removal costs. All residents will be assisted in finding suitable alternative accommodation, including being award top priority for social housing. Staff will signpost to independent advice if required e.g. Age UK, Citizen’s Advice etc and will also liaise with Adult Social Care to ensure continuity of care packages.
The majority of residents at Yewbarrow Lodge are people aged over 60. There are 30 flats within the complex which was built in the early 1990’s. There are currently nine vacant flats which despite sustained attempts to attract new tenants remain empty. There is also a former sheltered warden 3-bed house house affected by the closure. The location of Yewbarrow Lodge on the top of a steep access road also contributes to the problem of a lack of demand for the scheme. The vacant flats had been advertised regularly on Cumbria Choice, through a local estate agent, Rightmove, local citizens advice bureau, Age UK and with Parish Councillors.
SLH will be exploring options for the site over the coming months, including assessing whether SLH can develop out the site for alternative housing or whether to sell on the open market. SLH is aware of local rumours that Yewbarrow Lodge has restrictive covenants on its use but there are no prohibitive restrictions on the use of the site.