Plans for re-development at Epsom's home for the blind
26th July 2012
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Plans to move blind people to new accommodation at a home for the visually impaired is causing concern among some residents.

Swail House, in Ashley Road, Epsom, is owned by the charity Action for Blind People (Action) which has told its 60 tenants that it plans to re-develop the 60-year-old building in 2014-15 due to rising maintenance costs and th ned outdated facilities.

David Mackay, a tenant representative, said Action plans to build new flats on a different part of the site, move the tenants from their existing flats into the new flats, and then demolish the existing flats and sell that part of the site with permission for planning development.

The newspaper was contacted last week by one woman in her 90s who said she and her neighbours were very worried about the plans and surprised it was not being covered by the press.

But Mr Mackay said: "There are mixed feelings, but the majority of the tenants are looking at it as positive.

"Swail House needs a lot of ongoing maintenance work and was not built for the level of independence which its tenants have.

"The development will give people more of a sense of having their own home, rather than it being a big building.

"But the elderly have their concerns as they have lived here for a long time and are happy.

"They don’t want to see change."

Miriam Martin, Action’s director of development, said regular meetings would be held with tenants as it explores "exciting options for re-development" and wants this "to be a shared vision".

Action said a place would be guaranteed in the new accommodation for every current tenant.

Ms Martin said: "The needs of our tenants are of primary concern.

Read article by Hardeep Matharu at thisisLocalLondon

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