A group of residents living in almshouses in Hadleigh say they feel let down by the charity that owns the properties.
Backed by two members of St Mary’s Church the residents, most of whom pay rent in the form of maintenance agreements, have questioned why it has taken so long for works such as new windows and doors to take place, fearing another cold winter for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents.
The Free Press met a group of five residents, including spokesperson Carolyn Cammack to discuss the problems they say they are facing at the homes in The Row, off George Street.
The group say they first raised their concerns with the Hadleigh Grand Feoffment Charity in October.
“We are very grateful to live here. We love our houses and love the area but we feel as though we don’t matter,” said Mrs Cammack.
“We spend a lot of time and money trying to keep it looking good but it’s hard to feel proud.”
Another resident, who wished not to be named said: “It makes you feel neglected.”
The charity has said that many of the matters the residents have brought are in hand but say it can be a long process to carry out works.
However Sheila Webb, a reader at St Mary’s, said: “We are getting vague replies that don’t address the details.”
Mrs Webb has suggested a meeting between residents and the trustees, with herself and The Rev Canon Dr John Parr, who is also supporting the residents, in attendance. The residents would also like an independent survey to be carried out.
In a letter she sent to the charity, Mrs Webb said: “Whilst it is appreciated that a considerable amount of money is required to be invested in the repairs, it needs to be recognised that they are now urgent.
“There are repairs that required urgent attention such that elderly, vulnerable residents do not have to live through another winter coping with draughts, poor heating and inadequate security.”
Mrs Webb said the police had expressed the need for rear lighting after a robbery at one of the bungalows in January, but this was still not in place.
Penny Cook, chairman of charity, said: “We are aware of the current problems. Various minor repairs have been done or are in the process of being done.”
She said the trustees had agreed that the windows needed to be replaced but, as the homes were in the town’s conservation area, agreement had to come from Babergh District Council over suitable replacements, before the work could be put out to tender.
She said it was a lengthy process but the trustees were bound by certain rules and regulations.
They are also unable to make decisions outside of meetings which take place every six to eight weeks.
The residents have asked for timeframes for when work will be complete, concerned about plans for the work to be ‘phased’.
But Mrs Cook said: “We don’t want to say anything until we know. We don’t want to say one thing and then change this and let them down.”
Mrs Cook said the trustees were waiting for contractors regarding rear lighting, but the residents group said this was unsatisfactory considering the attack which took place in January.