110 bids per bungalow in town where housing ‘not up to scratch’

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ONE of the greatest pressures resulting from the elderly population boom in the Scarborough district is the need to provide suitable housing.

The borough council is consulting over a new draft housing strategy which highlights some of the issues faced.

It describes the ability to support a growing ageing population as “already quite strained”, and says that almost 40 per cent of older people who are in “housing need” - requiring more suitable accommodation - need a smaller property.

There are an average of 110 bids for each bungalow advertised in the town through North Yorkshire Homechoice.

The report also warns that a lot of the current stock of housing for the elderly “does not meet the aspirations and needs of current and future older persons”.

However, the council cites the recent £6.1m redevelopment of Sandybed Court by Yorkshire Coast Homes as an “excellent” example of what can be achieved, and residents agree.

The transformation from the original 1950s bedsits, with communal washing and toilet facilities, could not be more dramatic, and it is now a thriving community of manicured lawns, purpose-built bungalows and apartments with walk-in showers.

Widow Violet Pearson, 86, lived in the old accommodation and now believes she has some of the best views on the estate from her first-floor apartment.

“What a marvellous job they’ve done,” she said. “You see on television these kitchens costing thousands and they are no better then mine. I like it here and it’s very safe.”

Jennie Boyes, 62, who is originally from Scarborough, moved to Sandybed Court from York with her 62-year-old husband Trevor after he was diagnosed with dementia so the couple could be nearer their family.

They pay £357 a month for their new home, which they share with their border collie Bess.

“We couldn’t ask for anything nicer,” said Mrs Boyes. “It’s really suitable, has two good-sized bedrooms and we are very pleased.”

The development caters for a range of needs and ages and Jason Jellie, 25, who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, said he had enjoyed living a more independent life since moving into a bungalow designed specifically for his needs in May after finishing a college course in Gloucester.

He said: “I hope it will set a precedence for more projects like this in the future to give more people with disabilities and young families, or anyone looking for a home, the ability to live independently in the future, especially in hard economic times.”