Weymouth residents worry about ‘uncertain future’ over home repairs

Elderly residents are unsure of their future after being driven from their homes for the past five months.

Pensioners living in Holly Court on Dorchester Road were forced from their homes after Storm Eunice caused major roof damage in February.

Residents have been moved across Dorset with one lady, Cynthia Mullane, having to move six times in five months through Weymouth, Dorchester and even a few weeks at a Premier Inn.

Ms Mullane said: ‘In five months I’ve had six different addresses, it’s just dreadful and so stressful, we still don’t know what’s going on.

“It’s just me and my dogs but it was meant to be a permanent home, I thought it was forever.”

“I lost everything”

Margaret Tovey, 87, has also been displaced several times, spending seven weeks at the Royal Hotel in Weymouth and now lives in Bridport for the time being.

Ms Tovey said: ‘I can’t see my family, it’s very lonely, I’ve lived in Weymouth for 30 years, two years at Holly Court, it’s been very stressful and my blood pressure is up, which my doctor said must have been stressing – It’s very upsetting.

Residents were told they would receive £7,000 in compensation but could find nowhere to live in Weymouth.

One of the top floor residents, Mike Chapman, 67, lost all of his possessions due to moisture damage.

He said, “I lost everything.

“They dropped a bombshell, telling us we all have to go, it affects us all and our mental health – when I’m home I can’t sleep, I can’t eat.”

A resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “I have been here for 21 years, but I am on the side of the building that remains open.

“We are a community in this building, but at the moment it has been completely destroyed.”

The property currently requires £1.2million in expenditure to replace the roof after the storm and the internal damage caused which will not occur for at least a year.

Residents have been told that if they already live in Anchor housing, they can make it more permanent. But those stuck in holiday accommodation have been told they will need to move elsewhere as soon as possible and that individual meetings will take place to discuss needs and concerns: however, that accommodation may not be in Weymouth.

“Sorry for the distress”

Sue Howes, Area Manager for Holly Court, said: “We apologize to residents for the inconvenience and distress this has caused. Holly Court suffered significant damage from Storm Eunice. We took immediate action to protect the building and ensure the health, safety and well-being of residents on site. Residents were evicted from their properties and offered suitable alternative accommodation while repair work was carried out. Further structural investigations while repair work was in progress revealed that Holly Court required significant investment beyond repairing the roof, to make the building safe.

“We regularly review all of our sites looking at financial viability, investment required and the needs of current and potential, current and future customers. The extent of the damage means that a review of this nature has been undertaken here. Permanent options are being sought for the settled residents to provide stability while decisions are made on Holly Court’s long-term future. We continue to inform residents through letters and meetings, working closely with them to understand their needs, including financial support. The well-being of our residents remains paramount. »

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