VULNERABLE pensioners fear they are being “pushed out to their deaths” after being told they must vacate their homes over the winter months.

A couple who have lived in a lodge at Haven Village, off Promenade Way, Brightlingsea, for two years fear they will be vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 in December.

Every year, between the months of December and March, residents of the lodges agree to leave their homes because of the flood risk.

But one couple, aged 77 and 67, are appealing for Tendring Council to permit them to stay this year given the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

The couple, who asked not to be named, said: “Last year we got a caravan for a few weeks and we also finished our stay at a Travelodge in Clacton.

“We don’t feel too comfortable going out and about, eating in cafes and restaurants and staying in different places around Clacton and Colchester, when Covid is so prevalent.

“There are about 20 units, occupied by people who are very worried.

“The council are saying it is a flood risk, the actual site where we live hasn’t flooded since 1953.

“Last year there was floods at the other end of Promenade Way, but it didn’t come down here.”

He added: “Although we have to go off for three months we can come back every weekend from Friday to Monday, we can come in every day to feed the animals and we are allowed back for ten days at Christmas, so what is the difference in making an exception this year?

“Most of us have largely stayed indoors since March when we went into lockdown, largely only going out to the supermarket.

“I have COPD and a weak lung.

“We feel we are being pushed out to our deaths when we are very vulnerable.”

A Tendring Council spokesman said: “We completely understand how important people’s homes are to them, but we also have to consider the safety of our residents. The area which is the focus here is in a high flood risk area, with this risk particularly acute during the winter months.

“In order to protect not only residents, but also emergency service workers who would be called in to evacuate and possibly rescue people in the event of a flood, we have to take a firm and reasonable stance on planning rules in such areas.

“The advice on COVID-19, following consultation with the police and public health officials, is that residents from the site are permitted to travel to stay elsewhere as they usually would do, providing they remain in one location and if necessary form a household bubble with whoever they stay with.”