Elderly residents say loading ban is a ‘kick in the teeth’ which threatens their independence

Meg Biggs, 85, Ann Roe, 75, Dennis Roe, 87, Margaret George, 85, Pam Freer, 79, and Anne Rigby, 81, in the communal garden at Almond Court, Thurlby
Meg Biggs, 85, Ann Roe, 75, Dennis Roe, 87, Margaret George, 85, Pam Freer, 79, and Anne Rigby, 81, in the communal garden at Almond Court, Thurlby
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Pensioners say they fear losing their independence if council officers enforce a ban on unloading shopping outside their bungalows.

A letter was sent recently to the occupants of all 22 bungalows in Almond Court, Thurlby, warning that cars had been spotted on footpaths and lawned areas.

Sent by a South Kesteven District Council housing officer it stated: “I appreciate that there is a problem with parking in the area and that as a result some vehicle owners have decided to park on the grassed areas. As a council tenant, this is a breach of your tenancy agreement”.

It went on to state that if the grass is damaged, vehicle owners could be liable for costs to reinstate it and added: “if perpetrators continue to park on the grassed areas and drive across it, bollards will have to be installed”.

Residents say they were shocked and angered by the letter – pointing out that cars are never parked outside the bungalows, with paths only occasionally being used for unloading.

They were also keen to point out they hire their own gardener to look after the lawns and borders and would never cause any damage to any outdoor area which they are very proud of and have invested their own money in.

Meg Biggs, 85, who has lived there for 20 years, said: “We are mostly in our eighties and nineties. We only get one 30 minute visit per week from a warden – the rest of the time we look after each other.

“Those of us who have cars help others by driving them to doctors’ appointments, to the dentist, wherever they need to go. We are a very close community. We don’t want to be burden on anyone else and want to retain our independence.

“Sometimes a car might briefly park on the pavement while unloading shopping before being moved on as soon as that was completed. There is a lack of parking spaces around here and the nearest space might be some way away. We can’t carry heavy shopping that far.”

Pam Freer, 79, was warden at the complex when it first opened in 1972 and stayed on as a resident after retirement.

She described the council’s letter as a “kick in the teeth”, adding: “We are very proud of our communal gardens and pay a gardener who visits every week. The council only cuts the grass every eight weeks.

“There has been no damaged caused. The grass and plants only look as good as they do because we have spent our own money on them.”

Ann Roe, 75, and husband Dennis, 87, moved in 18 months ago. Ann added: “We all like living here and feel very settled, but we think the council is being unreasonable here.

“How else could we get our shopping back to our bungalows? We don’t want to lose our independence.”

South Kesteven District Council said discussions would take place to find a solution to the problem.

A spokesperson said:“Concerns have been raised with us by local residents about the area in question which is not suitable to be driven over or used for unloading as this presents both safety and maintenance concerns.

“We have reminded residents that the area is not suitable for parking or unloading and will be working with our tenants at Almond Court to put the best overall solution in place.”