I attended the presentation by Renaissance of their proposal to build nearly 50 flats for retired people in Arundel, in Fitzalan Road.
Initially I was much impressed with the grandeur of the three-storey layout. But gradually I realised that this sheltered housing is not what Arundel really needs at this time. Despite the increasing number of elderly people all living longer (and I’m one of them at 86) I suggest that the priority need is for affordable housing for the young offspring of Arundel families, who at present have to move out to find anywhere they can afford to rent or set up home – often far away.
This is a social problem that I encountered when I was a social worker in Crawley in the seventies. Young couples from the East End of London poured in, and started families. Many mothers had two or even three tots under five – but were alone. Husbands were out till late getting all the overtime they could; there was no mum across the road, auntie round the corner – the family was fractured.
Consequently much stress was caused to both parents and kids, having lost the support of the grandparents – and children benefit greatly from them – and vice versa!
In my view, Arundel does not need another large retirement block right up against Martlets Court and Caen Stone Court – making an old folks ghetto, attracting only the elderly who can afford the luxury on offer.
So I believe that parcel of land should go to a developer with a social conscience prepared to put people before profit. And experience shows that when the motives are right, the company succeeds.
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