There is a deep sense of anxiety and frustration around Tarporley about the future of Oathills Lea, the main sheltered housing provision for the ward. That anxiety is, of course, felt most intensely by the remaining residents and their families. They know that Weaver Vale Housing Trust intend to demolish the three blocks of flats and bedsits and rebuild goodness knows what. Admittedly such a plan could take a couple of years to even start but, in the meantime, the Housing Trust has stopped taking new tenants wanting to live there! The consequence is that there are empty one bedroom flats and bedsits while we have a desperate shortage of sheltered housing for our older residents.
I have visited Oathills Lea, its residents and their homes a number of times and I can tell you that the residents love their little homes and have made them really lovely. They are a small but very caring community and they are desperate for some security. They feel they have been left in a state of limbo, knowing that they may have to leave. I leave you to imagine how stressful this is for older residents who don’t know what the future holds for them. Of course the Housing Trust will re-house them but they choose to live here in Tarporley because it is near family and close to an active community, churches, a High Street they can walk to…it is their home and they had hoped it would be their last one.
so what can be done..?
Tarporley villagers and residents have protested and petitioned for the facility to be kept. They, and I, have asked that some compromise be found that would allow the residents to stay in one of the blocks while the others are demolished and rebuilt to modern standards.
I have asked for the Tarporley Neighbourhood Plan to be reviewed in the hope that the site can be protected in planning law. I have already helped fund a housing needs survey that I am certain will prove that there is a real need for sheltered housing. I am supporting the residents in any way I can and would like to thank Nick and Denise Willis of the Chapel for their dedication to the residents. I also want to thank Tarporley Parish Council for their support.
The Housing Trust say that the complexity of the existing buildings mean that it is impossible to demolish one or two blocks while residents live in the remaining one because of the interlinked heating, power and other utilities. If you know of any building professional who can advise on the technical aspects of this please contact me, the Willises or the Housing Trust.
In the meantime we continue to pray, protest and work in the hope that a happy solution can be found. It is something I had hoped would be settled before the approaching local elections.