Sanctuary Housing submit plans to close four Banbury communal buildings

Residents play Boccia in the East Close common room NNL-180430-101538001
Residents play Boccia in the East Close common room NNL-180430-101538001

Sanctuary Housing, one of the largest social housing landlords in the UK, have submitted plans to Cherwell District Council to convert four communal buildings across Banbury into bungalows.

The communal rooms offer a lifeline to elderly and disabled residents as their only outlet for social interaction.

The closure of these will mean that activities such as bingo, fish and chip dinners and chair exercise classes will disappear.

They can also be rented out for birthday’s and other celebrations and house an extra bedroom residents can hire when they have guests.

The four common rooms that could be closed are on East Close, Grimsbury, Erica Close, Hardwick, Sterling Court in Bretch Hill and St Leonards Close in Grimsbury.

The not for profit organisation claims on it’s website: “We reinvest any surplus we make back into our housing and services, making our communities a place our residents are proud to call home.”

But residents that will be affected feel these closures will destroy their communities.

One resident said: “Just having somewhere to meet up with my friends makes all the difference to me otherwise I could spend days on my own and it really helps me with my depression.”

While another added: “Going to the common room has helped me build my live back up after my loss. It would be a real blow to me if it was closed.”

A spokesperson for Sanctuary Housing said: “There is an increasing demand for housing locally and we have put forward a proposal to Cherwell District Council to convert the common rooms at these schemes into additional, much needed accommodation.

“We have informed residents in writing about our proposals and have reassured them that they will have the opportunity to provide feedback and offer their thoughts.”

Banbury Town Council will discuss the potential closures at a public planning meeting at the town hall on Wednesday, May 2 from 6.30pm.

To view the planning applications and have your say on them visit www.publicaccess.cherwell.gov.uk/online-applications/ and search for applications 18/00409/F (East Close), 18/00382/F (Erica Close), 18/00386/F (Sterling Court) and 18/00416/F (St Leonards Close).

You can read more on this story in Thursday’s Banbury Guardian.