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Ipswich sheltered housing to be reviewed as more choose to remain living at home

PUBLISHED: 06:54 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 06:54 10 February 2018

Cumberland Towers in Ipswich is among the sheltered housing that will be reviewed. Picture: ARCHANT

Cumberland Towers in Ipswich is among the sheltered housing that will be reviewed. Picture: ARCHANT

A review into sheltered housing schemes across Ipswich will take place this year, as more and more people choose to continue living at home.

Neil MacDonald said it was unlikely any flats would be sold. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILNeil MacDonald said it was unlikely any flats would be sold. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Ipswich currently has around 550 flats across more than 40 different sheltered housing sites, which helps support older and disabled people by giving them private living with some shared facilities and access to warden support.

But bosses at Ipswich Borough Council have said that a review has been long overdue having stayed the same for several decades, and more people are opting to make adaptations to their existing homes to help them remain independent.

Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing and health, said: “People typically now stay at home as long as possible and then they may go into extra care, so the view is to look at the physical situation of the buildings we have and are they still suitable.”

He added that the town’s sheltered housing now had people spanning from 55 to over 100 in the same accommodation, many of whom were still at work, meaning that the “on size fits all” approach is not longer as relevant.

He also pointed to increasing numbers of dementia patients as having an effect.

Work has already begun in gathering data on existing numbers in sheltered housing, which will help inform the review due for later this year.

However, while the review is into the buildings, Mr MacDonald said it was unlikely any flats would be sold.

“We will have to see but I don’t think we will sell or return the housing [to the market],” he said.

“The issue is making sure the housing we supply meets the people’s needs, and I think their needs are maybe different now.”

As part of the review, the title ‘sheltered housing’ may also be scrapped for something different, as some residents have reported that it can make them feel institutionalised.

The council aims to work alongside Suffolk County Council – whose remit is to oversee the care side – while the borough assesses the housing stock.

The review brief added: “This report will consider how the council can best support independent living for the ageing population and review the existing sheltered scheme service. It will provide a strategy to meet the challenges of the next 10 years.”

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