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High noon for saga of retirement complex

Saturday 29th January 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

‘Do the right thing’ — that’s the simple message campaigners have sent to the owner of a closure-threatened Burton retirement complex.

The midday deadline for bids to buy Elizabeth Court came and went yesterday but owner Anchor Trust declined to reveal how many offers, if any, it had received for the complex in Brough Road, Winshill.

Campaigners fighting to keep the centre open have urged the charity to put the needs of the remaining residents first and allow Burton housing association Trent and Dove to take over the complex and keep tenants in their homes.

Diane Radbourne, daughter of resident Elise Nicholson, said such a move would enable Anchor to avoid having to pay back a £750,000 Government grant and allow it to begin to repair its tarnished reputation. However, she warned the fight would continue — in the courts if necessary — if Anchor opted to sell the site to a commercial developer.

Mrs Radbourne told the Mail: “I’d like to think Anchor will do the right thing and let Trent and Dove take over so the residents of Elizabeth Court can finally get some peace.

“When we look at all the pros and cons of it, it just seems to make sense. Anchor will have to pay back £750,000 if it tries to sell to a developer and if it does that it will face a continued fight and lose any right to claim it cares about the welfare of its tenants.

“If it insists on trying to sell it and get more money, we will fight it in court.

“We are confident that we have a case and it will mean a lengthy legal process for Anchor and whoever tries to buy it.

“The power is in Anchor’s hands to put an end to this now. I hope they will see sense and offer these old folks some good news at last.” Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, who has backed the residents’ campaign, said: “My message to Anchor is that it’s clear how important Elizabeth Court is both to the tenants and to the community in Burton.

“To put profit ahead of the lives and the needs of these elderly and vulnerable residents would be an outrage and I implore them to do the right thing.

“They need to remember the reason their charity was established and allow another provider to take over so that the family that is Elizabeth Court can remain happy in their homes.” An Anchor spokesman said: “We can confirm that Friday was the last day of bidding following our marketing of Elizabeth Court.

“It would be inappropriate for Anchor to comment further at this point.

“We will inform our tenants of any substantive developments after bidding has closed and once all bids have been reviewed.”

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