Bulldozers herald council-houses plan

Darlison Court
Darlison Court

GROUND-breaking plans are being drawn up by Ashfield District Council to replace Hucknall’s empty and run-down Darlison Court elderly people’s flats.

The scheme, which is likely to cost £2.5 million, would entail demolishing the flats and building 20 specialist two-bedroom elderly people’s bungalows on the site off Ogle Street.

The proposal would make history because it is nearly 30 years since any publicly-owned council homes were built in Hucknall.

This is earmarked as an option for the future of the Darlison Court site, although a final decision has yet to be made.

Coun Chris Baron, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield Council, said: “Hopefully, a contract would be agreed to pull down Darlison Court and build the new bungalows straight away.

“This would avoid the site being left as an eyesore for a couple of months.”

Built in the 1970s, Darlison Court is a sheltered housing complex in Hucknall Central ward, consisting of 32 bedsits over two floors.

The court has been unoccupied since June, when the last remaining tenant moved out after a previous council decision to empty the complex. The site is currently being managed and secured by Ashfield Homes.

The council’s Cabinet gave the go-ahead for Darlison Court and 15 adjoining garages to be pulled down so that any new plans could be taken forward on a cleared site.

An officer’s report to the Cabinet stated: “The type of accommodation at Darlison Court is no longer in demand and not appropriate to meet the needs and expectations of elderly residents, who wish to live independently for longer and who require larger living spaces that accommodate carers and famiy.”

The report pointed out that remedial work would be needed to six flats on Ogle Street which were linked to the sheltered scheme via a communal stairwell.

But any further improvements to the flats would be kept on hold until an option report had been produced and the crucial decision reached.

Work is also needed to address issues caused by Baker Lane brook running under the site.

Coun Baron said Darlison Court was clearly not fit for purpose by modern standards. Bathrooms there had to be shared and doors were not wide enough for wheelchairs to get through.

He added that the bungalows that were envisaged would accommodate widows and widowers who lived in three-bedroomed houses which were no longer suitable for them.

The houses would therefore become available for families on the council’s waiting list of nearly 5,000 households.

Coun Jim Grundy (Lab), of Hucknall, said the boiler for Darlison Court was ‘shot’ and it broke down more than once a few winters ago. A far more energy-efficient and cheaper form of heating was needed, he added.