I’ve just received a response from the start of November which got lost in the Council system somewhere about the closure of Abbeyfield House at the top of Westmount Road. As with many of the closures of Council and associated properties in recent years, it appears the cost of converting older facilities to match new standards is proving a real challenge for charities and other providers. This particular facility has been well used in the past and in recent years ex-Eltham Councillor Michael Simpson was a tenant.
The response suggests that the key reasons for closure are:
- There is insufficient demand from suitable tenants to continue providing services at Abbeyfield, Eltham – the accommodation comprises of 8 rooms with access to supported communal facilities providing 2 meals a day. All tenants need to be able to live independently as the service is only manned from 9am-6pm daily.
- The accommodation and facilities do not meet the standards expected by potential new tenants and the building is not suited to adaptation – more potential tenants are asking for en-suite/apartments and the current tenancies are occupied on a room basis with access to communal and shared facilities.
- The cost of improving the building to meet regulatory requirements are disproportionate to the value of the property and its future income generation
- The house has consistently failed to produce a surplus income required by The Abbeyfield Society and due to the low occupancy of the service has failed to meet budget.
The Abbeyfield Society was also very keen to provide reassurance about the support for the four existing tenants to find suitable alternative accommodation. I do hope that this has been successful and I have asked to be updated on the future of the building.