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Pensioners left with nowhere to sit at Christmas party after Sanctuary destroys their ‘fire risk’ armchairs

PUBLISHED: 15:55 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 13 December 2017

Shocked leaseholders at Sanctuary Housing’s affordable scheme in Tysson House, Victoria Park Road had no idea the seats in their communal lounge were under threat, until they came down one day three weeks ago and found them gone.

Shocked leaseholders at Sanctuary Housing’s affordable scheme in Tysson House, Victoria Park Road had no idea the seats in their communal lounge were under threat, until they came down one day three weeks ago and found them gone.

Barbara Quinlan

Pensioners say their housing association has ruined Christmas by removing and destroying all the armchairs in their lounge without warning.

Shocked leaseholders at Sanctuary Housing’s affordable scheme in Tysson House, Victoria Park Road had no idea the seats in their communal lounge were under threat, until they came down one day three weeks ago and found them gone. Shocked leaseholders at Sanctuary Housing’s affordable scheme in Tysson House, Victoria Park Road had no idea the seats in their communal lounge were under threat, until they came down one day three weeks ago and found them gone.

Shocked tenants at Sanctuary’s Tysson House affordable housing scheme, who are mostly in their 80s and 90s, say they had no idea the seats in their communal living room were under threat until they came down one day and found them gone.

By that point they had been cut up and crushed because they didn’t comply with fire regulations – meaning they had to use the plastic garden chairs from an outdoor shed for their Christmas party on Friday.

To make matters worse, if they want to replace the chairs that were destroyed, they must pay out of their own pocket.

Barbara Quinlan, 65, said the party was “disappointing” and that the garden furniture was “alright for a short period of time but not for a few hours”.

The Christmas party at Sanctuary Housing’s scheme in Tysson House was The Christmas party at Sanctuary Housing’s scheme in Tysson House was "disappointing"

She believes the old chairs could have been salvaged if they had simply been covered with fire resistant material. Her daughter works for the fire brigade.

“I understand fire regulations, but did anyone explore the possibility of re-covering them?” she said. “Evidently not. They were taken out to the car park and crushed. All the chairs were just cut up and that was it. Gone.”

The group uses the lounge twice a week for film nights and get-togethers.

After the Gazette contacted Sanctuary Housing they said they would put in temporary replacement chairs – but it was the first residents had heard of it.

The Christmas party at Sanctuary Housing’s scheme in Tysson House was The Christmas party at Sanctuary Housing’s scheme in Tysson House was "disappointing"

A spokesman insisted the pensioners had been told in a newsletter that the old chairs were unsafe.

“The safety of residents is our priority and following a fire risk assessment we decided that, as a precaution, the chairs in the communal area should be removed and replaced,” he added. “We believe that buying new chairs is a better long-term option than refurbishing the old ones and we now have estimated cost for replacement chairs and additional furniture which we are required to consult with residents about before moving forward.”

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