Sanctuary ‘on track’ – but some still unhappy

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Rewind more than a year, and Sanctuary Housing vowed to pump over £1 million into renovating dozens of “rotting” homes, after fed-up Barrowcliff residents voiced concerns over living conditions.

Councillors demanded action over decaying living conditions, as Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill held talks with senior managers of the charity, after The Scarborough News highlighted the substandard living conditions that affected many on the estate.

134646a Sanctuary Housing MP Robert Goodwill,centre with Nigel Tomlinson,left and John Hanson of Sanctuary Housing Picture by Neil Silk 15/11/13

134646a Sanctuary Housing MP Robert Goodwill,centre with Nigel Tomlinson,left and John Hanson of Sanctuary Housing Picture by Neil Silk 15/11/13

Now refurbishment work on some of the properties has not only started, it’s been completed. Mouldy bathrooms have been spruced up, and dilapidated kitchens – some with doors literally coming off the hinges – have been replaced.

But on the estate, a pocket of disgruntled tenants maintain that Sanctuary are doing the “absolute bare minimum”, and that for many people, things are no better than they were – and in some cases they’ve got worse.

“They started doing my bathroom a year ago, and now the floor is collapsing and there’s mould everywhere – it’s worse than when it started,” claims Sanctuary tenant of 14 years Bryan Sheldrick.

“It’s the same story all over the estate.”

134646c'Sanctuary Housing'How many screw holes do you need to hang a door?'Picture by Neil Silk'15/11/13

134646c'Sanctuary Housing'How many screw holes do you need to hang a door?'Picture by Neil Silk'15/11/13

Sanctuary is quick to defend its recent performance in the area, and the charity claims that the vast majority of those who have had the work carried out recently have been pleased with the outcome.

John Hanson, head of Sanctuary’s northern housing operations, states 95 per cent of those who have had work done were happy with the outcome.

Three quarters of those have responded, and Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, who has raised concerns with the charity previously, says that the figures are evidence Sanctuary is on the right track.

“People who do respond 
are those who typically 
complain, so I think those figures are pleasing.

“Sanctuary are doing a lot to help these days, and to be honest I’m quite pleased with them.”

But Sanctuary tenant Craig Greensmith is anything but pleased. A vocal critic of the company, he points out faults throughout the estate – not least an upstairs window of a property that has been smashed for “six years”,

Mr Hanson said that the housing provider takes any such issues “very seriously”, and that anybody with a complaint should contact it.

But Mr Greensmith added: “To me, the public’s view of Sanctuary is glossed – you just couldn’t make some of this up.”