More delays for Sandridge sheltered housing flats

Caroline Sharpe House, St Albans.

Caroline Sharpe House, St Albans. - Credit: Archant

THE demolition of a sheltered housing scheme to make way for dozens of new affordable flats for the elderly in Sandridge hit another stumbling block last week.

St Albans district council’s Plans (Central) Committee was due to approve an application to redevelop Caroline Sharpe House, in Chiltern Road, last Monday.

But the decision was postponed due to a discrepancy over whether the 35 flats would be for rent or shared ownership.

And this has caused one frustrated former resident, who had to move out more than three years ago so work could begin on the redevelopment, to fear he will never be able to return.

Michael Clark, who has been promised first refusal on a flat when they are due to become available in summer 2014, said: “It seems to be at every corner there is a snag preventing it. I don’t know if we are ever going to get back there.”

The 70 year old explained he had recently felt the effects of not living in sheltered accommodation because the snow meant he was unable to leave his current temporary home for eight days.

He added: “Had I been at Caroline Sharpe House I would not have been alone, I would not have been as low as I am now. That is what I miss.”

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It is not the first time the project has come under fire as last year it emerged several elderly residents who moved out in 2009 had died while waiting for the planning application to be approved.

The rebuilding of Caroline Sharpe House forms part of the council’s programme to improve and update sheltered accommodation in the district.

In December 2011, North Herts Homes was chosen to take the scheme forward, and they have reassured new and former residents last week’s delay will not affect the original timescale.

Development project manager Keeley Hale said: “North Hertfordshire Homes is delighted that our submission was well received by the planning committee members.

“It is a tribute to the involvement that local people have had in the scheme’s development.

“While we are disappointed that the decision has had to be delayed, it will not impact on us starting in spring as planned.”

The council said they had since confirmed all units would be rented and the planning application would go before the committee again on February 11.