A group of determined Sutton pensioners who faced being turfed out of their homes are celebrating after winning their battle against eviction.
Residents of Sherwood House flats, which is located on Willowbridge Lane, have been fighting to save their homes for more than a year after owners Sanctuary Housing broke the devastating news that they would all have to move out.
But following a long campaign spearheaded by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, Sanctuary has made an extraordinary u-turn and said that the residents can stay.
And the relieved residents will also be getting a better home after Sanctuary Housing announced that the retirement complex will be undergoing extensive refurbishment.
Residents Barry and Joy Middleton said they were ‘delighted’ by the news.
“It’s a great relief after years of being in limbo,” Barry (75) said.
“We are very grateful to Gloria and her office for their help; her involvement was crucial in Sanctuary changing its mind.”
Joy (70) added: “It’s very good news for us after all this time.
“We are all relieved, the older ones especially. They have had sleepless nights over it and can now breathe again.”
The elderly folk turned to Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero for help after being told last summer that Sanctuary planned to close the complex.
A petition calling on the company to let the pensioners stay attracted more than seven hundred signatures in a matter of days.
Ms De Piero said she welcomed the news that the residents can stay in their homes.
“It’s been a long, hard fight and together we’ve managed to secure this amazing victory,” she said.
“It means an awful lot to me and even more to residents who have been through so much distress and worry in that time – although I am grateful to bosses for the u-turn.
“The residents are a great bunch and having been involved right from start, I’m overjoyed that they will get to stay in their own homes and enjoy their retirement to the full.”
Shaun Carr, assets director for Sanctuary, said that the work on the complex will include new kitchens, bathrooms, electrical works and heating to each flat, with further improvement works planned to the entrance, communal lounge and the provision of a new lift.
“I am delighted that we have been able to confirm proposals to invest in Sherwood House and for residents to remain in the scheme,” he said.
“Very early on we began speaking to residents about a range of options for the future of Sherwood House.
“At that time we made it clear that if the scheme was to remain, the homes needed extensive refurbishment and residents would have to move out while the work took place.
“This is still the case, however because there are now more empty flats at Sherwood House, we will be able to move residents within the scheme while the homes are being updated.”
Mr Carr added that anyone who has moved out of Sherwood House due to the uncertainty over its future may be able to go back if they wish.
“The nature of a retirement living scheme is that often when an individual chooses to leave it is because his or her support needs change, and a care home environment would be more appropriate.
“However, if anyone who has left Sherwood House would like to return after the homes are refurbished we would encourage them to contact us directly,” he said.
Further meetings will be held with residents to discuss the works in detail and it is hoped these will start by the summer.