A SHELTERED accommodation complex is set to be demolished and rebuilt as part of a multi-million pound upgrade.

Residents of Colchester Borough Homes’ Elfreda House, in Iceni Way, Colchester, will have to be rehoused in alternative homes before work gets underway.

The council has 18 months to find alternative homes for residents of the 32 properties, who will be given first refusal on the new homes once they are complete.

Due to the design of the 1964 building, the premises cannot simply be refurbished.

Adam Fox, councillor responsible for housing, said the scheme’s existing facilities are inadequate for residents, whose ages range from in their 50s to in their 90s.

Gazette: Councillor Adam FoxCouncillor Adam Fox

“We cannot carry on with the accommodation as it is, it is not fit for purpose,” he said.

“At this stage it is about supporting residents around finding somewhere they are happy to move to.

“For some people this will mean having discussions about what is important to them and what facilities they are looking for.

“Some of them will want discussions to take place with their families.

“It will be about looking where the best place for them is.

“We believe we can get it done in 18 months.

“At the end of that time though residents will not be chucked out - it is about making the right decisions for people.

“For some people these places are their community and they will want to move back so the option is there.”

He added: “If people find they are settled somewhere else there won’t be a requirement for them to move back.”

There are 25 studio flats, six apartments and one house at Elfreda House but the facilities mean many residents have to share bathrooms.

Colchester Council said the redevelopment could provide extra properties as well as more variety in the type of accommodation.

Cash for the redevelopment will come from the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

The exact cost of the project is not yet known but will run into millions of pounds.

Mr Fox said: “The rules the government put in place previously hamstrung us, but now they have lifted the cap so we can do what we want to do.

“This was always going to be part of our investment package.”

Mr Fox added: “We have an ageing population and we have to be able to provide suitable accommodation for them.”

Residents have been invited to a meeting with housing officers at Elfreda House on Wednesday and the council says a dedicated expert will be available to talk them through the process.

Moving costs will be met by Colchester Council.

Residents should be relocated by January 2021 before work begins on site.