Merton celebrates independent living

Merton Council celebrated independent living at the official opening of Concord House on Merton Road last week along with partners, residents and their families.

Ability Housing Association, Thames Valley Housing Association, Merton Council and the former Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust worked together to develop and open Concord House as part of Merton’s Campus Reprovision Scheme. This has replaced older style care homes for people with learning disabilities with new housing in the community.

Concord House includes eight bespoke self-contained flats for people with learning disabilities, featuring a communal lounge and staff area. The flats have electric adjustable kitchens, level access shows and hoisting systems.

Neighbouring Consortia House was also officially opened at the event and comprises 9 one and two bedroom flats. These homes are part of a shared-ownership scheme to allow first-time buyers and people on lower incomes such as nurses, teachers and police officers (key workers) to secure a foot on the property ladder.

Tenants of the new homes, their families, local councillors and others who have helped to make the new development a success, took part in the celebrations where there were guided tours of the specially-designed homes.

The development of the two new buildings has seen a derelict and overgrown site transform into good quality homes with landscaped gardens.

Deputy Mayor of Merton, Councillor John Bowcott said: ‘I’m delighted to see that the tenants in Concord House have settled into their new homes and are enjoying their independent living. The opening of Concord House and Consortia House was a great event, well done to everyone involved.’

Merton Council’s cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, said: ‘We were determined to remove the blight caused by the previous derelict building and have worked closely with Ability and Thames Valley Housing Associations and with the architect Julian Boswell, to achieve an attractive development with high quality residential flats – both in shared ownership and for those with learning disabilities. The resulting building and landscaping are outstanding. These lovely homes will set the standard for independent living in Merton. Everyone should have the chance to enjoy their independence in their own home and I want to thank everybody who was been involved.’

Chief Executive of Ability Housing Association, David Williams, described the latest development as: “The final piece of the jigsaw, resulting in the closure of the last remaining long-stay institutional campus. While we are celebrating the successful end of a building programme, the opening also marks the beginning of an exciting journey of personal development for our new tenants.”

Chief Executive of Thames Valley Housing Association, Geeta Nanda, added: “Making home ownership in Merton is a real priority for us, and I’m delighted that vital members of the local community – including a taxi driver and a doctor – have benefited from the flats at Consortia House. The two beautiful blocks are the result of brilliant partnership working between Ability, Merton and us, and I’m excited by the prospect of further ventures in the future.”