A bespoke wheelchair-user friendly bungalow that has been constructed by Ashford Borough Council and contractors DCB.
The property, built for Mr and Mrs MacGregor to accommodate Mrs MacGregor’s disability, is in Noakes Meadow in South Ashford.
Their new home is one of a stunning pair of two, two-bedroomed bungalows.
Occupational Therapists who have seen the property during the construction phase have commented that it should be the blueprint for the type of bespoke wheelchair-friendly accommodation that ought to be built across the county.
Mr and Mrs MacGregor said they are delighted by how the Council has listened to, and addressed, their needs. The couple used to run a business until Carole’s disabilities made that impossible. Carole has cerebral palsy and type two respiratory failure. She was born with talipes, which required many operations in her childhood. She struggles with their existing rented property with its angled rooms and large garden.
The custom built property at Noakes Meadow has square rooms with a wide hallway in which turning circles will be possible for Carole in her powered wheelchair. The wet room can be accessed via two very wide doorways and the wooden flooring throughout will enable Carole to use her standing aid, something that is not possible on carpet. Sections of the internal walls could be removed to enable a hoist to be fitted in the property in due course, should Carole require one to still enjoy their home.
In the kitchen, the worktop heights can be adjusted to enable Carole to cook and wash up should she so wish and all of the cupboards are also fully accessible. The smaller paved garden is also wheelchair friendly and will enable Carole to plant in pots and enjoy the sunshine throughout the summer months.
Carole MacGregor said: “It’s just amazing, the council and DCB have bent over backwards to accommodate us. Finally someone has understood a disabled person’s every need. I have been included in the design process from the outset and am beyond pleased with the result. I am so grateful to everyone involved, not least my husband who kept pushing on my behalf to make the fittings and finish precisely what we need.”
Steve MacGregor said: “I’ve been really pleased with the excellent communication we’ve had throughout the build. The accessibility offered by this new house is in a completely different league to what we’re used to. It would be great if this project could be used as a blueprint for future builds”.
Cllr Gerald White, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “That we have played a part in delivering a bespoke home which will significantly enhance the way in which Mr and Mrs MacGregor will be able to live their lives on a daily basis, is something that everyone involved in the project should be very proud of. I wish Steve and Carole all the very best for their future, and putting down new roots in Noakes Meadow.”
Chris Webster, Managing Director of DCB, said: “We are delighted that Mr and Mrs MacGregor are so pleased with their new home. Working in partnership has made this possible and to know that it has all been worthwhile and will make a real difference to their lives, means it is a job well done. It has been a great project to be involved in.”
Happy 50th birthday to Luckley House
Luckley House sheltered housing scheme in Wye celebrated its 50th anniversary, with pupils from the neighbouring Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School entertaining residents, their families and guests with songs and Maypole dancing.
Luckley House, which is run by Ashford Borough Council, has always had a close relationship with the school, said scheme manager Denise Libbeter.
“Our residents love having the children visit and they stole everyone’s hearts with their wonderful singing. The girls and boys also put on a very energetic display of dancing around the Maypole, despite the hot weather, and thoroughly deserved their lemonade and ice lollies we gave them at the end,” added Denise.
The entertainment provided by the school was warmly praised by the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Mrs Jessamy Blanford, who chatted with residents over a celebration lunch and studied displays of photos and memorabilia charting the 50 years of the housing scheme.
The mayor also planted a rose bush to commemorate the anniversary before taking time to admire the beautiful gardens and flower beds, which are the pride and joy of the residents who spend many hours tending them.
More than 30 residents live at Luckley House, which has a thriving social club with regular breakfast mornings, dinner and dance evenings, bingo, live entertainment and themed evenings, fish and chip suppers, visits and outings. Facilities have been modernised and extended in recent years, with a bright and airy communal lounge extended in 2013.
Help to Save
Hardworking people on low incomes can benefit from a new Government savings account that offers a 50% bonus. Help to Save will reward savers with an extra 50p for every £1 saved, meaning over 4 years a maximum saving of £2,400 would result in an overall bonus of £1,200.
Help to Save is easy to use, flexible and secure, will help those on low incomes build up a ‘rainy day’ fund, and encourage savings behaviours and habits. How much is saved and when is up to the account holder, and they don’t need to pay in every month to get a bonus.
Help to Save is available to working people on Tax Credits and Universal Credit.
Account holders can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for four years from the date the account is opened. After two years, savers get a 50% tax-free bonus on savings. If saving continues there is another 50% tax-free bonus after four years.
On maximum savings of £2,400 over 4 years, the overall bonus would be £1,200.
To apply, savers can visit www.gov.uk/helptosavelocal or use the HMRC app.
The council’s redevelopment at Danemore is almost complete. The old, tired sheltered housing scheme near to the top of the high street was demolished back in May 2015 because it was becoming run-down and was no longer fit for purpose. In its place paved the way for a brand new, dementia-friendly scheme containing 34 new homes, a buggy store and a communal lounge. The new building will be ready for its new residents in January 2019.
It also has a roof terrace which we think will be very popular with residents. You can see it taking shape in this picture we took when we had a sneak preview of the site in October.
The homes (a mixture of 1-bed and 2-bed) will be larger, more energy efficient and brighter than in the old Danemore. There are still some places available in the new scheme so we are looking for interested residents already in council accommodation, aged 60 or over, to contact us, particularly if you have a connection with Tenterden, are in a larger property and are looking to move to a home that is the right-size for you.
The council is also building four chalet bungalows on the site, which it is going to sell on the open market, to help finance part of the cost of the new scheme.
For further information on Danemore, please contact Donna Michael, Development Partnership Officer (email email@example.com or phone 01233 330496)
Help with Downsizing
If your house or flat is now too large for you, have you thought about moving? With winter fast approaching, a smaller property means smaller heating bills! If you are over the age of 50 years, Ashford Borough Council would help you to move through our Assisted Move scheme, taking the stress out of moving.
Donna Michael, Development Partnership Officer at Ashford Borough Council, says the Assisted Move scheme arranges your removals, including a packing and unpacking service if you would like that. It provides carpets in your new property, arranges the disconnection and reconnection of your cooker, and pays you £500 for each bedroom you are downsizing by.
If you have rent or council tax arrears, these will be taken from your payment, taking away the worry of being in debt. You will be able to bid for properties through our Choice Based Lettings Scheme, so you choose where you want to move to. Your larger property can then be used to house a new family, giving them the space to live comfortably.
We are also happy to downsize tenants under the age of 50 years, but the Assisted Move would not apply. If you are interested in moving, visit the housing section at www.ashford.gov.uk, or call 01233 331111 for details on how to apply.
Focus on the Housing Green Paper
Ashford housing tenant Nikki Gooch represented the borough when she attended an event in Hastings on 18 October organised to meet Government Housing minister Kit Malthouse.
The minister is currently touring the UK to discuss the launch of the recent Housing Green Paper with tenants. Malthouse wants to get feedback and ideas from people on how best to deliver proposals contained in the Green Paper.
Housing association Optivo is facilitating the minister’s visit to the Hastings Centre and has invited Ashford Borough Council to get involved in further discussions around the proposals contained in the Green Paper.