Sheltered housing schemes in Durham face closure

Council bosses in Durham are considering closing two sheltered housing schemes because it cannot afford to fund needed improvements.

Durham County Council says more than £1.5m is needed to improve Oversteads House and Brandon House on the outskirts of Durham City.

Falling demand has also resulted in about 50% of the 1970s-built bedsit-type properties and flats laying empty.

Consultation with the remaining tenants and their families is ongoing.

Durham County Council's cabinet member for housing, Clive Robson, said: "We cannot escape from the fact that the bedsit that we offer today is no longer fit for our customers.

"New customers will no longer tolerate sharing bathing facilities or even contemplate having flats without their own showers or bathrooms.

"Nevertheless we recognise that, despite all these issues, this is a sensitive subject for the people living in these buildings, some of whom have made it their home for many years.

"As such we have consulted extensively with residents and their families who also acknowledge the problems."

The authority is due to discuss the situation further at a meeting on 2 November.

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