El­derly in need of a din­ing hall

Lunch club needs a tem­po­rary base

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

EL­DERLY peo­ple in Uxbridge could miss out on din­ing hall fa­cil­i­ties in the town cen­tre for 18 months.

Plans to de­mol­ish the Fass­nidge Com­mu­nity Din­ing Hall and re­de­velop the site were ap­proved by Hilling­don Coun­cil at a meet­ing on June 15.

The prop­erty be­hind High Street is owned by the Fass­nidge Me­mo­rial Trust and is leased to the Uxbridge Old Peo­ple’s Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, which pro­vides meals for the el­derly.

Devel­oper Howarth Homes Plc will build 49 self-con­tained apart­ments, reach­ing eight storeys with a re­place­ment com­mu­nity build­ing in­cluded.

Rita Wil­son, Trustee and trea­surer of the Old Peo­ple’s Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, was not sur­prised at the ap­proval for plans to go ahead.

She said: “The build­ing we’re in at the mo­ment is re­ally, in all hon­esty, no longer fit for pur­pose. It’s a night­mare to keep heated in the win­ter and it is look­ing very sorry for it­self.

“The roof goes ev­ery now and then and there are all sorts of things we have prob­lems with. It was meant to last for 20 years and its lasted for about 50 years.”

The old peo­ple’s as­so­ci­a­tion has used the ex­ist­ing hall since it was built. Ev­ery weekday, around 20 peo­ple aged over 60 use the fa­cil­ity, which is staffed by one paid cook and three vol­un­teers.

The staff welcome the new hall but are cur­rently fo­cused on what would hap­pen to the din­ers while the de­vel­op­ment is be­ing built. Talks are be­ing held with the Fass­nidge Trust and The Good Yarn pub is a likely al­ter­na­tive.

Ms Wil­son added: “We’re con­sult­ing with the din­ers at the mo­ment to see if they’re happy with the al­ter­na­tive. On the face of it, it looks as though they would be. There’s lots to be ironed out but at the mo­ment The Good Yarn is look­ing to be a good pos­si­bil­ity.

“It’s wor­ry­ing for peo­ple be­cause no­body likes un­cer­tainty, but look­ing at a long-term plan for peo­ple for the fu­ture, it’s got to be the way for­ward. One day some­thing will hap­pen and we won’t be able to oc­cupy [the cur­rent hall] – the roof will cave in or the electrics will blow up.”

A con­cerned res­i­dent Ka­t­rina Pat­ter­son, who has lived in the area for 37 years, pre­vi­ously gath­ered around 60 sig­na­tures to op­pose the plans.

She said: “It does seem like it was left to the peo­ple of Uxbridge, not to 49 in­di­vid­u­als to live in flats above the land.”

Fur­ther­more, she ar­gued that high-rise build­ings with bal­conies should not be built in a pol­luted area, next to a busy round­about and the Cedars car park, and that the de­vel­op­ment will ‘pol­lute the skyline’.

Speak­ing af­ter the ap­proval an­nounce­ment, she added: “It’s good that res­i­dents will get a new din­ing hall but the plans are still against the ethos of the Kate Fass­nidge Trust.”

Jean Palmer, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hilling­don Coun­cil and cor­po­rate di­rec­tor of res­i­dents ser­vices, said: “The pri­mary in­ten­tion is to pro­vide a new, mod­ern and fit-for-pur­pose fa­cil­ity to re­place the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­ity on site which is used as a din­ing hall for lo­cal and vis­it­ing el­derly peo­ple by Uxbridge Old Peo­ple’s Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion.”

n CUR­RENT SITE: Plans to de­mol­ish the Fass­nidge Com­mu­nity Din­ing Hall have been ap­proved

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