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Wash-day blues; Laundry is a must for us say tenants.


SCORES of residents using a Saltburn community centre fear a proposed Coast and Country Housing scheme will remove vital communal washing machine and drying facilities they've had for years.

About 75 tenants -mainly elderly and disabled -at Milton Street, Marine Court and The Crescent -use machines at Milton Street Community Centre, via a service charge paid to Coast and Country.

But they say the cost of using the nearest private launderette a quarter of a mile away would be THREE times greater.

Shocked tenants have received a Coast and Country letter saying the centre is "nominated for alternative use".

Coast and Country communities manager Emma Grimes says: "Options include conversion into homes, working with partners to lease properties for community use and investigating social business possibilities." Tenants say they can't afford to lose the facilities, especially in winter.

Geoff Boyes, 70, said: "We're dismayed to get this letter on the building's future. There's no information whether the laundry arrangement will continue."

Joyce Thistlethwaite, 77, said: "We pay pounds 1 for washing machines and 20p a go for drying currently. This compares with pounds 3 for a wash at a launderette and higher drying fees."

Disabled Millie Templeman, 56, said: "None of us have cars to get to launderettes.

"We fear they will close the community centre to convert it into new homes and the washing and drying facilities will be withdrawn."

Tenants said the community centre and nearby flats used to be warden controlled, but these were reassigned elsewhere in cost-cutting.

Now the centre is locked most of the time.

It's used on Tuesdays by a reading class and for coffee mornings. Flats now operate on the Homecall system, via intercoms.

Mr Boyes said tenants have also complained to Coast and Country about anti-social behaviour.

He said: "Yobs damage vehicles, knock on windows and go to the toilet at the back, which they also use as a drinking den."

He said Coast and Country had installed security lighting, but yobs get in via a broken fence.

Tenants want to meet executives to thrash out a solution to the problems.

A Coast and Country Housing spokesman said: "This is the beginning of an extensive consultation, including meeting residents in the NewYear, to discuss options for alternative uses for the community centre, including future provision of laundry facilities.

"Damage to the fencing has been repaired in the past. We weren't aware it had been vandalised again. Arrangements have been made for any necessary work to be carried out."


Joyce Thistlethwaite. Geoff is pictured right in the laundry room Pictures by IAN COOPER
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2009
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