OAP complex set to be bulldozed

END OF THE LINE -- for Darlison Court in Hucknall
END OF THE LINE -- for Darlison Court in Hucknall

A LONG-standing housing complex for elderly residents in Hucknall is to face the bulldozers.

Members of Ashfield District Council Cabinet have agreed to close down Darlison Court, off Ogle Street, with immediate effect.

The complex has become outdated in recent years, and the selection of 32 bedsits have become difficult to let.

In fact, the final resident — a man in his 50s — has now accepted alternative accommodation elsewhere in Ashfield, leaving Darlison Court, which was built in 1969, completely empty.

The council has decided to demolish the complex because it would be too expensive to upgrade.

The bedsits do not have their own bathrooms, there is no lift and the heating system needs to be replaced.

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of the council, told the Cabinet meeting: “Darlison Court has been difficult to let for some time, especially because of the communal bathrooms. We now have to see what developments will be suitable for the site.”

Discussions will be stepped up to decide what to do with the land. But the current buildings will be demolished.

Council officers have been asked to come up with a range of proposals that will then be presented to Cabinet before going out to public consultation.

Coun Chris Baron (Lab), of Hucknall, said: “This site is next to the town centre of Hucknall and any replacement has to be fit for the 21st century and futureproof.”

Darlison Court is owned by Ashfield Council but the properties are managed by Ashfield Homes, a company set up to maintain council properties.

In a report to Cabinet, officers said the one-bedroomed bedsits had become unpopular because they were small and residents also had to share a laundry and community room. Steps and slopes around the site also made it difficult for tenants with mobility problems.

The accommodation cost £3,000 a month to heat and light, which council chiefs say did not represent good value for money.

It would cost an estimated £80,000 to replace the heating system and there was a risk of break-ins and anti-social behaviour because so much of the site was vacant.

In July 2010, ten tenants agreed to voluntarily move out of the complex.

Those ten and the last resident to leave could be entitled to a home-loss and disturbance payments.

But for some, the decision to close Darlison Court represents the end of an era.

Hilda ‘Tilly’ Tilcock, of Annesley Road, is 90 years old and was a cleaner at the complex. She is also a member of the long-running Hucknall Golden Age Club, which was based at Darlison Court until a couple of weeks ago.

She said: “I have a lot of fond memories of Darlison Court and will be very sad to see it go.I even remember the first warden.

“I’d like to see it used for new housing for the elderly.”