Former home for elderly in St Albans set to become affordable housing

Linley Court on Valley Road

Linley Court on Valley Road - Credit: Archant

A former sheltered housing scheme for the elderly which was closed for rebuilding some years ago is to be redeveloped to provide affordable housing.

Linley Court on Valley Road

Linley Court on Valley Road - Credit: Archant

St Albans council has sold Linley Court in Valley Road, St Albans, to Aldwyck Housing Association for a £1 million redevelopment to turn it into 14 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom rental properties.

Linley Court was one of five sheltered housing schemes in the district which the council agreed in 2009 to close and redevelop as part of a plan to brings its elderly care accommodation up to 21st century standards. Residents, some of whom voiced fears about being moved out of their homes, were given priority to return once the rebuilding was complete.

But in the meantime the council has refurbished a lot of its sheltered accommodation and believes it offers sufficient places for the elderly in the district to allow Linley Court to be redeveloped as affordable housing.

Cllr Brian Ellis, the council’s portfolio holder for housing, said that the several buildings had been refurbished including Lea Springs in Harpenden (formerly Leacroft) and Parkside View in Marshalswick (formerly Caroline Sharpe House) which are now flexicare schemes for various ages and Sparrow Court in Wheathampstead which has been transformed into independent living flats for the over-55s.

Cllr Ellis said: “Some years ago we decided that sheltered housing stock was pretty dated and not up the standard of today and our objective was to upgrade it substantially.

“We are very proud of what we have done and the standard of accommodation now is almost incomparable.”

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Betty Entwhistle House in Holyrood Crescent, St Albans, is also due to be developed into a mixed-age flexicare scheme and there are other schemes underway to provide additional affordable housing including the redevelopment of several former garage sites .

Head of housing, Karen Dragovic, told a recent meeting of the cabinet: “The council has been pursuing a strategy to provide more affordable housing.

“Under-utilised garage sites are being turned into social housing for rent while we have been looking to refurbish sheltered housing schemes and open them up to people on the council’s housing register.

“There is a lot of work involved, often in cooperation with housing associations, with several of the projects now well underway.”