Residents in retirement home 'riddled' with asbestos and legionella to be rehomed

Residents are moving out of a Yorkshire housing complex riddled with asbestos and legionella to make way for major works.

In December, a council report said the retirement living scheme – Sycamore Grange in Golcar – had several issues that “pose a significant health and safety risk to the people living there.” Asbestos insulating board was still being used in the communal corridors and lounge and legionella samples were found in the pipework.

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can live in water systems and lead to Legionnaires’ disease – a serious type of pneumonia. The presence of asbestos insulation was preventing further investigation into the legionella and the addressing of fire safety issues.

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Kirklees Council’s cabinet approved major remediation works for the complex but these can’t be carried out with tenants still occupying the building. As a result, residents have now started to move out of their homes to make way for redevelopment, with it expected to cost the council £300,000.

Asbestos is no longer used in the construction of modern day housing.Asbestos is no longer used in the construction of modern day housing.
Asbestos is no longer used in the construction of modern day housing.

With no tenants living at the site, the 50-year-old complex will be demolished and redeveloped. There will be seven new bungalows, ten three-bed houses, and two one-bed ‘cottage flats’ around the new scheme, with the site able to accommodate 60 new homes.

Naz Parkar, service director for homes and neighbourhoods, said: “I’m happy we’re now able to move on to the next stage of the project and starting to talk to tenants and their families to find suitable accommodation where they would like to live.

“We understand this may be an unsettling time, so we have dedicated teams in place to give each tenant one-to-one support throughout the moving-out process. It’s great that we have a big enough space to provide a new retirement living scheme and some additional homes surrounding the building that will help meet our wider council housing needs.

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“Hearing the opinions of residents living at the grange and the local community will help provide the best living space for our tenants, that meets their needs and expectations. We would love to hear from you if you live locally.”

Once the tenants have been rehoused and the demolition is completed, it will take a further 18 to 24 months to redevelop the site. Information on the finances needed for this is expected to be brought to cabinet for approval this summer.