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Elderly St Andrews Residents Forced to Leave Their Homes

People living at Marine Place have been told to find somewhere else to live after Bield Housing and Care has announced the closure of the complex in September 2023.

The property, located just off North Street, is made up of 14 flats and is designed for people over 60.

Bield Housing and Care has labelled the closure as due to “upcoming sustainability and accessibility regulations” for housing association properties.

The company has offered support for the eight remaining tenants to find “suitable new homes''. Liz Peacock, head of development and sustainability at Bield, said: “We recognise that Marine Place has provided a lovely setting for our tenants to make their home – and that any move can be difficult.

“We’ve had to take this very difficult decision as we must plan for the future. We constantly review our properties and it is clear that Marine Place cannot meet the stringent new changes in standards that we must adhere to.”

Ms Peacock emphasised that tenants might be able to move to Malory House, a new development in town, but others will need to move to their homes in other nearby towns, however stated, “we will also work closely with the local authorities and other housing associations should these options not work for any individual.

“The wellbeing of our tenants remains of paramount importance to us and everything is being done to make sure the process is as smooth and unobtrusive as possible.”

The support offered by Bield does not guarantee tenants properties in St Andrews. New housing could instead be located in Elie and Crail.

Catherine Rowe is 81 and has lived at Marine Place since 2008. She uses a wheelchair and is legally blind. She told The Courier: “When I got the letter on Saturday, it floored me. I just burst out crying – I’m upset right now anyway because of the Queen.

“To drop something like that in your lap when the whole country is mourning – that’s not proper business protocol. It’s supposed to be Bield Housing and Care but there ain’t no care around.”

Ms Rowe is concerned about losing her support network if she has to move outside of town, “I don’t know anybody in Elie, all my friends and associates are here in St Andrews. It’s taking away the community here as well, all my neighbours – I’ve got good neighbours.”

Some tenants say they will be seeking legal advice following the news. Mike Reid, 68, a community councillor in St Andrews who also lives at Marine Place, told The Courrier: “Bield told us that we had a home for life with them. They’re kicking St Andrews locals out – it is tantamount to eviction. I will also be seeking the support of Fife councillors and my fellow community councillors.”

On Bield Housing and Care’s website, Marine Place is described as: “Ideal for those aged 60 and over, independent and loving life but no longer want the worry of maintaining a large family home.”

The residencies include an emergency response service, maintained communal garden, secure door entry and repair service

A consultation meeting is scheduled later this month.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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