Work begins on new Mencap residences in Harpenden

A PAIR of semi-detached houses in Harpenden is to become 11 flats to house residents of Stairways, the Mencap hostel in the town.

Stairways in Douglas Road has been ruled as unsuitable to meet the needs of residents by Herts Adult Care Services and Harpenden Mencap has been looking for an affordable local site to provide alternative accommodation.

It found it in a pair of semi-detached houses sandwiched in a narrow plot between Crosthwaite Court and Carlton Court in Carlton Road – and the site now has planning permission for 11 individual flats.

Everyone who moves in there will have their own home, complete with kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room, and to avoid residents feeling isolated and lonely, there will be communal rooms where they can meet and socialise.

The �2 million-plus project is expected to be completed by next September when up to seven Stairways residents will move in.

Recently town Mayor, Cllr Michael Weaver, Deputy Mayor, Nicola Linacre, and other interested parties visited the site for the “turning the first sod” ceremony organised by contractors Jarvis.

�4,000 was raised towards the cost of the building project by the charity’s first golf day at Harpenden Common Golf Club last month.

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Seventy six golfers took part in the Stableford competition which was followed by a mea, a raffle and an auction.

A further 13 residents together with care and administration staff and children’s activities still need to be found a new home and Mencap is hoping that the former Westfield allotment site in Harpenden might be suitable now the new administration of the district council has removed its objections to access being allowed across its land.

n Harpenden Mencap is joining forces with the local branch of Sainsbury’s to work together to raise funds for the charity.

A Mencap book stall in the store is expected to be expanded and the two organisations will be working together on such initiatives as improving the Roundabout Charity Shop in Southdown and running a Halloween cake stall.