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Councils urged to get behind rescue of threatened Yewbarrow Lodge sheltered housing scheme

Yewbarrow Lodge is facing closure

A sheltered housing scheme in Grange-over-Sands is under threat of closure due to high vacancy rates.

South Lakes Housing, which manages the Yewbarrow Lodge sheltered housing scheme, announced this week that it intends to close the facility and re-locate residents due to long-term vacancy rates and an earlier decision by Cumbria County Council not to support adapting the scheme into Extra Care housing.

South Lakes Housing has cited the scheme’s location at the top of a hill as one of the reasons it has failed to secure full occupancy on the site.

Councillor James Airey, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, wants local councils to step in to help rescue the sheltered housing scheme and has contacted Yewbarrow residents who are opposed to the closure.

Councillor James Airey said: “This is an extremely worrying time for Yewbarrow Lodge residents. Before any final decision is taken, I want South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria County Council to look at how transport links to the site could be improved and other measures to support the long-term future of Yewbarrow Lodge.

“I will also be looking to South Lakeland District Council, which already provides funding to South Lakes Housing, to commit additional resources if required to ensure all options to rescue the scheme can be properly explored before a final decision is taken.”

John Mansergh, director of business assurance at South Lakes Housing said: “We have not rushed into this or taken the decision lightly. The fact is that we have struggled to find new tenants to fill the vacancies for several years and a third of the scheme is now empty.

“We have conducted in-depth market analysis about future demand and have reluctantly reached the conclusion that Yewbarrow Lodge no longer has a long term future as a sheltered scheme. Our priority is to talk to individual residents and their families face-to-face and provide them with advice and information about alternative housing options. We understand that this is an unsettling time but we will ensure that there is support and a package of financial assistance available to help residents move.”

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