Scope sale of sheltered housing site sparks two residents to fight move

Two residents are vowing to stay put when a sheltered housing
development for disabled people in Cardiff shuts in the autumn,
writes Derren Hayes.

The pair, who live at Scope-owned Cyncoed Flats, say they will
refuse to leave unless they are found suitable alternative

The disability charity sold the site for £2.25m to developers
who want to build a retirement village. The flats, homes to 12
tenants, are due to shut on 5 October.

Residents Alan Symonds and Brian Byfield, who have cerebral palsy
and have known each other for 26 years, have yet to be found a
permanent home where they can live independently, as they do

Colin Gent and Anne McCarthy, campaigners for the residents, said
the pair would face months of disruption in temporary accommodation
even if an acceptable proposal was put forward. “They can’t just go
anywhere,” said McCarthy.

Scope and Cardiff Council have found homes for other residents
since the charity announced the controversial closure plan in

But Community Care has spoken to residents who are
critical of Scope’s handling of the situation.

Politicians have also become involved. The Liberal Democrat MP for
Cardiff Central Jenny Willott is lobbying the government to bring
in legislation that would protect the tenancy rights of sheltered
housing residents and prevent such a situation from occurring

The Welsh assembly member for Cardiff Central Jenny Randerson
warned that Scope’s standing in the city had been damaged.

Scope conceded that the announcement of the closure “should have
been handled better”.

Sharon Collins, the charity’s executive director for operations,
said the final two occupants were “in a difficult position because
of the way the funding system works”.

She said: “If they had wished to remain in residential care in
Cardiff this may have been possible, though it would not
necessarily mean they could stay together.

“But they wish to remain in Cardiff, share accommodation and live
more independently. This has not been agreed by the purchasing
authorities under the system.”

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