MP meets Hill Top Drive families

Huw Merriman visited residents of Hill Top Drive who are facing eviction.
Huw Merriman visited residents of Hill Top Drive who are facing eviction.

Residents facing eviction from their housing association flats in Rye Foreign have received support from their MP.

MP for Bexhill and Battle Huw Merriman visited worried residents of Hill Top Drive on Tuesday (August 12) to hear their concerns about Orbit Housing Association’s plans to sell their homes.

Orbit couriered letters without warning to the 16 families who live in the Grade-II listed building last month saying it had decided to sell the whole property and they would need to relocate.

“I am very sympathetic to the plight of the residents who want to carry on living at Hill Top Drive which is a close and caring community,” Mr Merriman said.

“It is near to their family, friends, schools, jobs and voluntary commitments. Understandably, they are very worried and upset about the prospect of having to leave their homes, especially as there seem to be no alternative properties in the Rye area for them to move to.

“I have called an urgent meeting with Orbit to get a better understanding of the issues facing the housing association and to find out why the property has been neglected for so long.”

Mr Merriman was joined by Rother District Councillors Martin Mooney and Ian Jenkins and parish council chairman Nick Ramus and clerk Julie Ramus, who are all concerned about the families’ plight.

Orbit decided their homes are no longer fit to live in and to bring them up to acceptable standards would be too expensive.

However, residents believe Orbit has been deliberately ignoring their requests for essential maintenance and repairs to windows, doors and the exterior of the property for a number of years.

Now the exterior has got into such a bad state of neglect that it would cost a considerable amount to repair it.

Resident James Arter said: “I even approached Orbit to ask if I could repair and replace the windows at my own expense but was told this could not be allowed.

“As a result, the rooms I recently decorated have now got water damage because rain gets in through the rotten window frames.

“My daughter’s bedroom window is in such a bad state of repair that it actually fell out and we had to screw it shut.”

Orbit South reiterated its stance from last month when director of operations Keith Edwards said the homes were unsuitable for people to live in after a detailed review.

He said the company did not take this decision lightly and would be working to find alternative accommodation.

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