MP to quiz homes boss

ANXIOUS: Mike Neville with Barnfield's oldest resident, Bessie Preston, 95. (d16081144)

ANXIOUS: Mike Neville with Barnfield's oldest resident, Bessie Preston, 95. (d16081144)

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AN MP has waded into the row over plans to close a retirement complex.

Mike Wood, the MP for Batley and Spen, promised action after talking to tenants at the Barnfield scheme in Beckett Road.

He said he would seek a meeting with the boss of not-for-profit charity Anchor, which runs the complex on the edge of Batley Carr and Dewsbury.

The 52 residents have been on a knife edge since Anchor announced it was considering closing the 32-year-old building as a £700,000 refurbishment was ‘too costly to justify’.

A protest petition has already been sent to the charity after residents decided to fight any moves to close their home.

Campaign leader Mike Neville said Mr Wood’s intervention had been welcomed by tenants.

“The meeting with him was very positive,” said the 69-year-old resident.

Mr Neville said the mood at Barnfield was anxious, especially among those who had been there a long time.

Anchor said reviews of the management of all retirement housing schemes was routine, taking into account factors such as the age of the building, design and location.

The charity said it had met with residents to outline options and will announce its decision in November.

Mr Wood said: “This is an unexpected situation and Anchor must look to its duty of care to the residents. I’m demanding a meeting with the chief executive of Anchor Housing as I have a series of questions for them – not least where has the money gone from rent and charges paid by residents over 30 years? Anchor appears to claim that not much, if any, of that money has been spent on the building! Yet it made an operating surplus last year in excess of £21m. I can’t see why this money should not be spent on Barnfield, enabling people to remain in their homes as the vast majority wish to do.”