Inquiry call after elderly residents moved from sheltered homes

A protest is planned tomorrow evening at Sutton Civic Centre over the Liberal Democrat-run council’s plans to bulldoze 28 bungalows at picturesque Richmond Green which had provided sheltered housing for pensioners.

Several elderly residents died soon after they were moved from Richmond Gardens by Sutton Council

Several elderly residents died soon after they were moved from Richmond Gardens by Sutton Council

Richmond Green is a quiet, tranquil piece of a conservation area in Beddington, just along the River Wandle from Waddon Ponds on the Sutton side of the Purley Way.

Sutton Council wants to develop the site into more dense housing, with flats which offer the potential for more profit. But it has been delayed for three years because the final remaining resident, 77-year-old Brian Gould, refused to give up his home and rejected the council’s claims that the riverside bungalows were subject to subsidence.

Gould had to be forcibly removed from a previous Sutton Council meeting, where the retired surveyor called the council’s description of the homes as sub-standard as “codswallop”.

“I’m fucking fuming with the way the council has treated me,” said Gould, who has since been persuaded to move to alternative accommodation which Tory opposition councillors have called “possibly the most expensive council house in history”.

Gould said, “They just want me out to make way for their new development, and I don’t care if the new accommodation is nicer – the way I have been treated is disgraceful.”

Opposition councillors will be presenting a petition tomorrow night to Sutton’s hapless council leader Ruth Dombey, calling for a public inquiry into the handling of Richmond Green and its residents.

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Hapless: Sutton council leader Ruth Dombey

They claim that several elderly and vulnerable residents were put under pressure by the council to agree to leave their homes. The signature of agreement to move out of Richmond Green was even sought by a council official from one resident while she was ill in a hospital bed.

The petition states, “We believe that the London Borough of Sutton has been negligent in its duty of care to Mr Brian Gould. We demand that the Council takes immediate action to stop any demolition of the Richmond Green bungalows.

“We demand that this sheltered accommodation be restored and repaired and made habitable and welcoming for the elderly. We demand an independent inquiry into why the council has tried to demolish homes in a conservation area.

“The inquiry should also find out why so many of the former residents of the bungalows died shortly after they were relocated.

“Furthermore, it should investigate the use of misinformation to make the case for the demolition of the bungalows. The treatment of Mr Brian Gould should also form part of the inquiry.”

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