Benhill estate residents not consulted about plans to turn former Oakleigh care home into homeless accommodation
An apology was issued to residents of the Benhill estate after it emerged they had not been consulted about plans to turn a former care home into temporary accommodation for the homeless.
Leader of Sutton Council Ruth Dombey wrote to residents of the central Sutton estate on Monday (October 15), hours before proposals were to be discussed at the Strategy and Resources Committee meeting.
The plan would involve turning former Oakleigh care home into 45 self contained emergency accommodation for homeless familes.
In the letter, people were informed the issue had been removed from the agenda after the council admitted residents needed to be better informed about the proposal and have the opportunity to state their views before a final decision was made.
Paul Nathan, a teaching assistant who lives in Benhill Avenue, which backs onto the site, said residents were "livid" when they heard about the plans.
He said: "People are livid the council tried to push this through without telling us. People are dead against it. To have so many people moving in with so many diverse problems would have a serious effect on the residents around here."
Some residents did not get the message and attended the meeting to air their views.
The letter to residents from the council read: "We all deeply regret the fact that the communication with local residents about the proposal was not better handled."
At the meeting councillors were due to rubber stamp plans to get a development partner to refurbish the former specialist dementia care home.
The care home, which housed 30 elderly people with dementia, closed last year to cut costs despite pleas from residents and community organisations.
Another site, Ludlow Lodge, had been looked at but was ruled out on cost issues and potential management problems.
A council spokesman said: "We removed the item from the agenda in order to allow time for fuller discussion with local residents."