Housing site must be retained for elderly

Horsdonside in Wooler
Horsdonside in Wooler
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Any new development on the site of a closed sheltered housing complex should cater for the elderly, according to the parish council.

The closure of Wooler’s Horsdonside was announced in April last year and all of the residents have now moved out.

While parish councillors and others opposed the closure, there was little that could be done as the site did not meet the Government’s standards and would be too expensive to put right.

Since then, groups in Wooler, led by the Glendale Gateway Trust, have got together to try to deal with the housing situation in general, which has seen a county council needs survey reveal that more than 250 new homes need to be built in the Glendale area over the next five years.

And although the parish council has always been of the opinion that the elderly community that lost the facility should be provided for, now members have agreed to put it in writing to both the Trust and social landlord Berwick Borough Housing.

In December last year, at a council scrutiny meeting in Berwick, Paul Tanney, chief executive of the housing provider, said that ‘in due course Horsdonside will become available for redevelopment’.

At Monday’s meeting, Coun Joyce Robertson said: “Are we going to tell Glendale Gateway Trust and Berwick Borough Housing that we want the housing to be for elderly residents to replace Horsdonside?”

Coun Shirley Mills said: “I personally feel that there isn’t enough housing for the elderly or for the disabled.”

Outgoing chairman Coun Alfreda Hindmarsh agreed, adding: “The rest of that site should be for the elderly.”

It was also pointed out that while the site was closed because the buildings weren’t fit for purpose, the location remained suitable as it was close to the High Street and other facilities.

“The place is ideal in terms of the High Street and the services to meet the needs of the elderly,” said new parish chairman Alan Robertson, who was elected at the annual meeting at the start of the evening.

Members also agreed to contact Berwick Borough Housing regarding benches at Horsdonside, which may be moved for use elsewhere in the village now that the site is empty. The council is also surveying all of the public seats in its control.