Keys to the homes were handed over to the new residents by John Archibald of Victory – which has invested £1.9 million in building the new homes, situated on the site of the old bedsit block at Portalfield in the town.
Amongst those moving in was Rita Smith, who had lived in the former bedsits, and who declared herself delighted with her new home (see below for more details).
The nine one-bedroom homes and six two-bedroom homes (two of which are wheelchair adapted) incorporate many features which were asked for by residents during a consultation process conducted by Victory, including individual gardens, each with a shed; a covered porch with external socket (which can be used for a mobility scooter); and adequate parking spaces close by.
There is also a new communal room for residents, with its own garden. The new homes have been built by Dove Jeffrey Homes.
John Archibald, chief executive of Victory Housing Trust, said, “This is the culmination of a project to replace outdated bedsit accommodation with quality sheltered homes. We have invested £1.9 million here in Stalham to achieve this, and the result is a development of homes which will be much more suitable for the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s older people.
“This has been a long process, and one which has necessarily involved some disruption for residents here at Portalfield. It is a particular delight to welcome back those residents who moved out of the old bedsit accommodation – and to hear them say, when they see their new homes, that all of the upheaval has been worth it.”
Case Study – Rita Smith
81-year-old Rita Smith has lived at Portalfield for around ten years, and was one of those living in the former bedsits before they were demolished to make way for the new homes. She moved to a bungalow in St Benet’s Close while the work was going on, and at first was not intending to return to Portalfield – until she saw her spacious new one-bedroom home.
“I really didn’t like my old bedsit,” she said. “It was small, it had no garden, and the soundproofing wasn’t very good. I liked the location of Portalfield, close to the town centre, but I wasn’t keen on my old bedsit.
“When I saw the new homes, I immediately wanted to come back to Portalfield. I’m absolutely delighted with my new home – it is far better than I thought it was going to be. I like the space, I like the fact that they are warm, I like the patio and the garden, and I like the excellent soundproofing.
“I’ve loved it from the moment I moved in.”
Mrs Smith, who was born in Norfolk, moved into Portalfield when she returned to the county after living in Scotland. She has a son, three grandsons and two great-grandsons, all of whom live in Norwich.