Elderly homes in Hampstead and Kentish Town to be sold to developers

Cllr Julian Fulbrook.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook. - Credit: submitted

Camden councillors have approved the sale of two sheltered housing schemes for elderly residents to developers for millions of pounds.

The cabinet agreed to sell Wells Court, in Oriel Place, Hampstead, and the Greenwood Annexe, in Oseney Crescent, Kentish Town, on Wednesday last week (October 22).

Under the plans, residents in the homes will be re-housed nearby and receipts from the sales will be used to improve other sheltered housing schemes across Camden, as part of the Community Investment Programme (CIP).

Cllr Julian Fulbrook, cabinet member for housing, rejected a call from Hampstead councillor Stephen Stark to delay pressing ahead with the sale of Wells Court to deal with concerns about the future of residents in the building.

Cllr Fulbrook said the cost of refurbishments needed at Wells Court was estimated to be £1.2million in 2012.

He said: “Thinking through the options, I would say delay is not one of those options. This doesn’t seem a good building to keep people in.

“It is that traditional matter of the granny test: would you put your granny in this building? No, I would not.”

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Under the CIP, the council is selling out-of-date and underused buildings to generate money to invest in new homes, schools and community facilities.

Cllr Fulbrook told cabinet that Wells Court, which dates back to the 1880s and houses nine tenants among its 23 bedsits, was unfit for purpose – pointing out that residents taken ill had to be carried out by paramedics as there is no wheelchair access.

The Greenwood Annexe – part of the Greenwood sheltered housing scheme – has 24 bedsits and only 11 are occupied. It too has no wheelchair access to floors above the ground level.

Cllr Pat Callaghan, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “There is no lift there so if you’re ill, you’re stuck there and ambulance crews have to, in a very undignified manner, bring people down to ground level.

“We want better for our older people, we want a better quality of life for them.”

Wells Court tenants will be offered accommodation nearby and Greenwood Annexe residents can move into the main block after the sale of the properties.

Speaking on behalf of Cllr Stark, who did not attend the cabinet meeting, Camden Conservative leader Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland said: “I think the councillor in question is quite concerned about how much residents didn’t want change and the impact on them and their mental health.

“He also looked at the cost of refurbishment and looked at how much that would be per unit and didn’t think it was as excessive as is implied in the report.”