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Elderly duo fight to save sheltered housing

PUBLISHED: 16:36 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:39 25 August 2010

TWO pensioners fighting for the future of their sheltered housing say the elderly have been betrayed by councillors and are calling for greater council transparency.

TWO pensioners fighting for the future of their sheltered housing say the elderly have been "betrayed" by councillors and are calling for greater council transparency.

Elwyn Bryant, 73, from Bexley, and Peter Gussman, 80, from Sidcup, want councillors to publicly back or reject plans to wind down sheltered housing across the borough before residents go to the polls in May.

A letter released by the council under a freedom of information request revealed that the council has consented to wide scale closures of sheltered housing owned by London and Quadrant.

Hundreds of vulnerable pensioners are currently homed at six sites, including Heron Crescent in Sidcup, targeted in the letter dated July 18, 2008, just one year after a bitter fight to save one of the sites.

Mr Gussman, of Old Farm Avenue, said: "Pensioners are being betrayed by Bexley council and every other council in London because it's policy to get rid of sheltered housing.

"It should never have been handed into private ownership.

"Councillors are not representing the pensioners they are representing L&Q."

Consent has been given for L&Q to close 60 per cent of Heron Crescent and Meadows Court, Crayford.

Another 60 percent of homes at Bowes Court, Blackfen, Elwick Court, Barnes Cray, Fossett Lodge, Barnehurst, Maryville, Welling would be sold after 2023.

L&Q has assured residents that nobody will be forced from their home. Units sold will pay for a modernisation programme which is already underway.

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: "The decision was taken by the appropriatecabinet member (former cabinet member for housing and regeneration, John Waters) in the usual way.

"The decision would only have been discussed in public if it had been called in by the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which it was not.

"There were public meetings organised by L&Q during the consultation period in which council members and officers were involved.

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