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New ‘chink of light’ for Elizabeth Court residents


Wednesday 6th October 2010 (Andrew Griffiths)

RESIDENTS of closure-threatened Elizabeth Court have been given a ‘chink of light’ after a meeting between Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and the boss of the housing firm planning to close the complex.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor Trust, has agreed to hold talks with Trent and Dove to explore the possibility of the Burton-based housing association taking over the complex, in Brough Road, Winshill.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ashcroft has pledged to provide a written response to the questions the Mail put to her which the firm had previously refused to answer.

Mr Griffiths, who held the 40-minute meeting with the Anchor chief at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, said the developments were ‘really positive’ but warned residents should not raise their hopes too high.

He said: “I put across very strongly my concerns about how the whole process has been handled by Anchor and told her I had major reservations about the approach they’ve taken.”

“Mrs Ashcroft has agreed to hold talks with Trent and Dove to explore the possibility of some kind of deal where they could take over Elizabeth Court.

“She doesn’t want to raise hopes that this is a done deal or pre-empt any negotiations that may take place, but the fact she is prepared to sit around a table and discuss other options is a good sign.

“This is a big step forward. I wouldn’t want to unduly raise the hopes of residents but at least we’ve got a chink of light and something positive on the horizon.” Mr Griffiths said the Anchor chief had confirmed the company had not held any discussions with other housing providers about Elizabeth Court, before or since announcing its closure in August.

Meanwhile, the MP said he would be ‘pressing’ Mrs Ashcroft, who turned up at the meeting already clutching a copy of the Mail’s questions, for a speedy response.

He said: “I went through the questions the Burton Mail had submitted and she has agreed to put her response to them in writing. She understands how important it is to answer these questions in order to reassure residents about how decisions have been made.” READERS have until noon tomorrow to return completed copies of the Mail’s petition against the closure of Elizabeth Court.

So far, 2,355 people have signed the petitions or the online version at www.burtonmail.co.uk.

Petitions can be obtained from, and should be returned to, the Mail office in High Street, Burton.

The petitions, along with comments sent in to the Mail about the planned closure, will be delivered to Mrs Ashcroft by Mr Griffiths at Westminster on Tuesday.

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