Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'White Knight' Is Needed to Save Housing Scheme

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'White Knight' Is Needed to Save Housing Scheme

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Tully

AN ELDERLY tenants' housing scheme facing closure may yet be saved - if another landlord is prepared to step in.

Blackett Court in Wylam is under the axe as Anchor Housing Association moves out its last elderly tenants. S S

But after a top-level meeting in the House of Commons between Hexham MP Guy Opperman and Anchor chief executive Jane Ashcroft, Mr Opperman said there were still hopes the 34-year-old complex could be preserved for its intended purpose. "What we need is a white knight," he said. "Blackett Court needs to be retained as a residential home - and there are plenty of alternative providers."

An Anchor spokesperson said: "In due course, if we decide to sell the site, we will first speak with any registered social landlord who may be interested.

"We would consider any sensible offer but as a charity we are obliged to ensure we get the best return from the site to help us meet our charitable objectives."

North East housing association Milecastle this week said that after asking for details about a potential takeover of Blackett Court earlier this year, it heard nothing more from Anchor. Anchor claimed Milecastle had not pursued its original interest.

Mr Opperman said he believed Anchor's decision to close the 16-apartment Blackett Court - left to Age Concern by the late Squire Charles Blackett in the early 1970s - was "solely and fundamentally" about money.

But Anchor replied: "Anchor is a not-for-profit organisation and any surplus we make goes back into providing services for older people. …

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