Housing chief vows to keep talking with community over future of doomed Milton Keynes sheltered housing scheme land

A council’s housing chief has vowed to consult with the public over what will replace a doomed sheltered housing scheme.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 3:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 3:39 pm

A Milton Keynes Council meeting on Tuesday (Nov 26) was told that Buckland Lodge, in Netherfield, has been suffering from subsidence since 2005 and is not up to modern standards.

“It is old, tired and no longer fit for purpose,” said Cllr Nigel Long (Lab, Bletchley West) the council’s housing supremo. “There is a debate to be had about what should replace it in terms of housing, sheltered housing, dementia care and outreach.

“We will look at the options with the wider community.” He said the council would consult with Woughton Community Council, Netherfield Residents Association and others about what to put on the site.

Buckland Lodge is 'not fit for purpose' according to the council

But Tim Skelton, of the MK Forum, disagreed with the approach, arguing that the building should not be decommissioned. The council says repairing the building, which contains 34 flats, would cost about £1.8 million.

He said: “I am old, tired, and not fit for purpose but it does not mean that I should be taken out and shot. It is too easy to say that it’s going to cost money, therefore we’ll demolish it.

“Green councils do not bring down good buildings.”

But Cllr Long said: “I am not old, tired or not fit for purpose, and neither are you, but this building is.”

He said the city faces the “huge housing crisis” of having 954 families currently in temporary accommodation, a need for specialist dementia care, and to help people live for longer in their own homes.

“We need to put in its place a really modern, high-quality development ready for the next 30 years,” he said.

Before confirming that he would agree to decommissioning the building, and to give home loss payments of £6,400 to 22 former residents, Cllr Long fielded a range of questions from residents, Woughton Community Council, and the Netherfield Residents Association.

The decision, made at a delegated decisions meeting, will be subject to a call in period, during which time it can be challenged. It will be finally confirmed if it is not challenged. Details of the rules of the call in should be published on the council’s website on Friday.