Agencies apologise after concern over housing complex in Northampton

Neighbours call for monthly review after issues with assisted living scheme

By Logan MacLeod
Friday, 27th May 2022, 9:40 am

A housing association and the council have apologised to residents living near a new assisted living scheme for adults with complex needs after they raised concerns.

Oak Tree Rise bungalows were built in Thorplands in May last year to help adults with complex needs to hold their own tenancies.

Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH), on behalf of West Northamptonshire Council (WNC), specifically designed the scheme to create a space where residents can get to know their neighbours or socialise with friends and family, enjoy fresh air and feel comfortable in a home that works for them and their individual needs.

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Dennis Warren has criticised the placement and handling of Oak Tree Rise assisted living complex

But after concerns from residents and a local councillor, NPH has apologised for the distress caused and assured residents that action had been taken to move those whose “level of need was not suitable for a residential environment”.

One resident, Dennis Warren, said initially residents were positive about the scheme.

He said: "NPH said it was going to be for assisted living, so we thought it was going to be people with learning difficulties and perhaps physical difficulties. We thought the council is actually doing something really good.”

But he said there had numerous issues involving some of those using the complex since it opened and NPH has agreed that it was inappropriate for some of the users to be housed there.

Oak Tree Rise opened in May last year

Dennis, along with other residents and councillors, have been in multiple meetings with NPH this year to discuss how to resolve the issues.

"NPH has also offered to review it every six months, but we want it reviewed every month otherwise this could go on for years,” he said.

Councillor Janice Duffy, of the Thorplands ward, said she believes residents were “hoodwinked” by the scheme and that she was also concerned about the impact on the people using the complex.

"Apologies by the agencies were given to residents at the meeting last night. It is expected improvements will continue now WNC has taken control,” she said.

WNC and NPH issued a joint statement

The statement reads: “This scheme was designed specifically for adults with complex needs. There is on-site support at all times, which is provided by specialist care provider, Autism East Midlands (AEM).

"Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) was commissioned to build Oak Tree Rise on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) and the NHS Care Commissioning Group (CCG).

"NPH is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the building, whilst West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and NHS CCG are responsible for allocating the bungalows to residents.

“Firstly, we would like to reassure the Thorplands community that we have taken action to make alternative arrangements for residents whose level of need was not suited to the development. We apologise for the distress caused to neighbours to date.

"WNC and NHS CCG are committed to a long-term, open and honest dialogue with Oak Tree Rise neighbours and will work closely with them to tackle issues and agree solutions at the earliest stage.

“We will be meeting with residents regularly and have provided them with direct contact details to report issues and share concerns.

"With this approach, along with some additional sound buffering and planting on site, we are confident that we can progress positively in partnership with all involved, especially residents of Oak Tree Rise and their neighbours.”

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