People whose sub-standard homes could be taken over by tourists have been promised new and better housing. HARDEEP KAUR reports.
Families will have to move out of their homes at Ladder Hill Fort to make way for a luxury hotel and self-catering apartments.
The fort is currently the site of 21 government houses, and at least 14 of them will be affected – possibly all of them.
Discussions with tenants were sparked after the recent visit by heads of the Mantis Collection hotel group.
St Helena Government’s housing executive, Andy Crowe, assured them they would get somewhere better to live, possibly in the new low-energy housing project planned nearby in Half Tree Hollow.
He said: “It has always been recognised that Ladder Hill Fort would make an excellent hotel.
“We hope that out of this it will be winners all round: winners in the sense that we get the hotel that the island needs, and winners in the sense that tenants who are currently living on Ladder Hill in some in some quite poor-condition houses will end up in better properties.
“In the meantime, we are not going to turn our back on those properties. If there is work needs doing, even if it’s only going to last a couple of years, we will do the work.
“We will be consulting tenants individually over the next six months over what their needs are, where they would like to go, and who they want to live next to, because we don’t want to break up that community.
“We would rather just move the community.”
Andy said he was keen to involve tenants in the design of their new homes.
He also said the government would be giving “plenty of notice” of any developments.
He told them: “If anything happens, it’s going to be the best part of two years, so please don’t start packing or start worrying at the moment.”
Reporter Hardeep Kaur is a journalism student at Birmingham City University. This story is based on a SAMS Radio 1 interview. Bulletins can be heard at www.sams.sh