Eildon Housing to close Melrose sheltered housing facility

A community of elderly people have been told they will have to find somewhere else to live after Eildon Housing made the decision to close down its Millar House facility in Melrose.

Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 2:33 pm
Residents at Millar House have been told they will have to find somewhere else to live before July 2021.

It includes six sheltered housing flatlets inside the grade-C listed building, as well as nine self-contained cottages round the back.

The Southern Reporter was contacted by one of the residents of the cottages, who we have agreed not to name.

He said he was upset and angry at the situation, having to move home at this stage of his life.

Sign up to our daily The Southern Reporter Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Other residents are upset, but it appears most are resigned to the situation.

One woman, who has stayed at Millar House for eight years, told us: “I’m very disappointed, as I feel safe here.

“We’re not happy we’re moving, but Eildon has been more than generous to us.

“They have said they will pack and unpack our belongings and will give us new carpets, curtains and blinds, and an initial ex-gratia payment for the upset.”

She is planning on moving to Eildon’s new 39-flat facility in Currie Road, Galashiels.

An Eildon spokesperson told us: “Eildon has been exploring options for an alternative use for Millar House for a number of years. There have been concerns regarding the suitability of the property for an older client group, mainly as a result of the quality of the accommodation and the popularity of the bed-sit accommodation in the main house.

“Conversion options have proven not to be practical due to the main house being a grade-C listed building and its close proximity to the cottages within the grounds.

“After much consideration, Eildon’s board accepted that conversion of the house and continuing the supported housing service is not viable.

“This has been a difficult decision for both staff and board, but it has now been agreed that we will not continue to offer a supported housing service at Millar House (this includes the whole of the service).

“The service will end no later than July 2021. We are currently in discussion with all tenants on what housing and support options are best for them to ensure they have the continued support needed when they move.

“Eildon is offering assistance to current tenants to find suitable alternative accommodation of their choice by July 2021. Tenants will either be rehoused in Eildon properties or housing suitable for older people owned by local housing associations.

“No decision has been made on what will happen to Millar House after July 2021.

“We are discussing with the council whether the development can be used in a different way, and will engage with other partners including the Melrose community in due course.”

The spokesperson added that no changes will take place until the development is empty, and that Eildon’s focus is in “engaging with and supporting our tenants at Millar House to find the best solutions to meet their needs”.