Cold comfort for Gorleston OAPs

Pensioners waiting for double-glazing improvements were given cold comfort this week by a senior housing officer who said there was not enough money to fund anything other than one-offs.

Pensioners waiting for double-glazing improvements were given cold comfort this week by a senior housing officer who said there was not enough money to fund anything other than one-offs.

People in Bunnewell Avenue and Ecclestone Close in Gorleston raised the issue five years ago when residents - many in their 80s or 90s - were given an estimate of around 2018 for when a programme of work could start.

But this week, responding to a rumour that the date had been put back even further to 2020, Denis Gilbert head of housing management, said there was little prospect of better news.

He said: “I do not think we have ever given people a specific date, we have tried to give estimates. They have never been in tablets of stone. The situation is that we cannot afford to replace windows that can be repaired even though they are single glazed. Our capital resources have been so significantly reduced that we are not in a position to sustain a long term programme of window replacement. We can only respond on an individual basis. It is a very nice, well-maintained estate, the energy efficiency is of quite a high standard.

“In recent years we have had capital programmes of around �6m, we are now in a position where they are only about �4.5m. The Government is coming to the end of its review of council housing finance. That may give us some cause for optimism in the future.”

But Sylvia Platt, 71, who lives in Ecclestone Close said the elderly deserved more. Although in every other respect the bungalows were beautiful, she said, with alarms in every room the window issue was never far away. She said she had noticed the difference since her rotten bay window had been upgraded but that other rooms remained difficult to heat.

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She said: “I know of three people around this area that have paid for their own double glazing and two others that have paid for part and I am dead against this because they are council properties that cannot be bought. Why are the council allowing people to use their savings for this? One lady is almost 100. She surely deserves more.”