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Blind home project is shelved

PUBLISHED: 13:12 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:48 09 March 2010

A MAJOR project to create a new state-of-the-art home for blind and visually impaired people in Felixstowe has been shelved because of the credit crunch, it was revealed today.

A MAJOR project to create a new state-of-the-art home for blind and visually impaired people in Felixstowe has been shelved because of the credit crunch, it was revealed today.

Ipswich Blind Society and Flagship Housing had teamed up to provide the multi million pound facility, which would have involved demolishing and redeveloping Conford House in Taunton Road and Exeter Road, Walton, to create a warden-controlled “very sheltered” 32-flat complex.

The century-old St Felix Home for the Blind in Princes Road would have been converted into two large town houses, with conversion of the stables into a home plus a new bungalow in the garden, to help pay for the scheme.

Ipswich Blind Society chairman Roger Fern said due to the effects of the credit crunch, the society and Flagship Housing were now unable to proceed with their plans to replace St Felix and redevelop Conford House.

Flagship will be proceeding with the redevelopment of its property in Walton, but at a later date than originally planned.

As a result, Ipswich Blind Society have decided to launch a major scheme to extend and improve the current St Felix buildings.

He said plans would include incorporating the former coach house into the main building, adding extra rooms and en-suite facilities, installing a lift and refurbishing the existing accommodation.

“By increasing the number of residents and improving the standard of accommodation we can offer, we can put St Felix on a more stable financial footing,” said Mr Fern.

“With the population living longer, the incidence of age-related visual impairment can only increase, making specialist accommodation like St Felix all the more important.”

A major fund-raising campaign will be launched in the New Year, once plans have been finalised.

It had been hoped to have completed the redevelopment by 2010. Each flat would have had two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom, and community facilities all adapted for the visually impaired. Care and support was to be provided by staff on site and night staff.

Campaigners were in favour of the project but will be equally delighted St Felix will stay and be upgraded to meet modern standards, especially as there is a shortage of specialist sheltered housing and care for visually-impaired people.

Are you sad the project cannot go ahead as planned? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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