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£4.5m modernisation project proposed for Haverhill housing scheme

Westbourne Court
Westbourne Court

Havebury Housing Partnership has unveiled proposals for a £4.5m redevelopment of the Westbourne Court site in Haverhill.

Westbourne Court is set to become the housing association’s latest development as Havebury looks to replace the current offering of bedsits with shared bathroom facilities by creating modern, self-contained flats.

Karen Mayhew, chief executive of Havebury Housing said: “Following the refurbishment of five homes in the scheme last summer, we are committed to improving the standard of accommodation at Westbourne Court.

“We wanted to take a fundamental look at this attractive site to see how best we could create a range of one and two bedroom homes which could be appropriate for older people.

“We hope that some of the homes could also be offered for sale or on a shared ownership basis.

“The proposals have been shared with existing residents and local councillors, and regular updates will be available as the proposals firm up.”

Westbourne Court was built in the late 1970s and has a total of 32 bedsits for people aged 50 and over. The oldest resident is aged 99.

The five bedsits that were remodelled last year will remain as they are, but the remaining 27 are to be rebuilt and at least ten more added. Currently 15 of the 27 unaltered bedsits are empty, with just 12 tenants living there.

Havebury’s head of housing, Anita Jones, said they have been discussing the plans with residents for the past six to 12 months to establish what they would like to see happen.

“The new development will have a communal space, which is important to them, and keeping the outdoor area and garden space.

“To a large extent they have already shaped what will be going in.”

She added that should the redevelopment plans be approved by St Edmundsbury Council it is not anticipated that any building work would start until the autumn of 2017.

In the meantime, current tenants would be found temporary accommodation at other Havebury sites in Haverhill and receive support for as long as they require it, although some of the occupants may move in with relatives while the work is completed.

Matthew Dick, Havebury’s head of assets, added: “It’s more about the nature of the accommodation and the way it’s laid out and built, that’s the issue.”

A planning application for the new-look Westbourne Court is expected to be submitted before Christmas.

Havebury has been undertaking an ongoing programme of improvements to its housing schemes in Haverhill and Westbourne Court is the last occupied scheme to be redeveloped.