Housing victory

John Beirne
John Beirne

EX Mayor of St Helens John Beirne has claimed victory in his campaign to stop a housing association from drastically lowering the bidding age for homes in areas traditionally inhabited by over 55s.

Coun Beirne says Helena Partnerships have agreed to lower the bidding age to 50 – not 40 – in category one flats across the borough.

The Lib Dem town centre councillor hailed the move “a sensible compromise”.

Coun Beirne told the Reporter: “I’ve been told that Helena are going to lower the bidding age to 50 and there will be no children allowed in these category one homes. That seems like a sensible compromise to me so I’m glad the campaign has been a success.

“I’m sure this will be a better prospect for those Helena tenants who specifically chose to go into designated 55s-plus housing.

“I’d like to thank everyone who joined the campaign and signed the petition. Helena has listened.”

Back in February, Coun Beirne claimed plans to lower the bidding age from 55 to 40 were “a slap in the face” for tenants.

He told how elderly residents in his ward on Albion Street, York Close, Barton Close and Fenton Close on the Duke Street estate were “really concerned” about who their next neighbours could be.

He also said his opposition to the plan had received “overwhelming support”.

A spokeswoman for Helena declined to comment on Coun Beirne’s claim that a compromise had now been reached.

But, in a previous statement, Helena said they were consulting with tenants on how to best use empty flats.

They added that they would then “review tenant feedback” before informing residents of their decision.