A RESIDENT claims little has been done to improve sheltered housing in Castle Point, a year on from a damning report.

Alec Butler, 66, of Amelia Blackwell House, in Link Road, Canvey, is furious with Castle Point Council’s lack of action to improve some of the borough’s eight sheltered homes.

In late 2009, the council’s overview and scrutiny committee published a report listing a host of shortcomings, including cramped rooms, sub-standard washing facilities, uncared for community rooms and poor disabled access.

Mr Butler, who is also deputy chairman of the council’s sheltered homes forum, believes there are still too many failings.

He said: “It’s not how you should treat people.

“I live in mixed gender accommodation, and we have to share bathing facilities.

“The bath is 3ft 6ins long, I’m over 6ft tall, and the only way to bathe is to kneel in it.

“It’s meant eight of us have the use of just one shower, and two women have had to be moved because they were uncomfortable with that.

“It’s also the simple things – the guy who used to do our window cleaning retired, and he was never replaced.

“It’s unprofessional.”

On Tuesday night, the overview and scrutiny committee met senior officers from the council’s housing department to discuss progress on 23 recommendations made following the initial report. It found some changes had been made, for example, communal rooms in Sweet Briar Lodge and Amelia House, both in Canvey, have been repainted and refurnished, waste bins had been moved away from residents’ windows in some homes, and disabled access has been improved.

However, more costly changes, including overhauling inadequate bathing facilities and “bedsit-style” rooms, had not taken place.

Mr Butler added: “Where things need to be done there doesn’t seem to be any proritisation in terms of need. It just seems to be what is expedient.

“We all understand the constrictions of money, but what we can’t abide is the lack of understanding of our need.”

Wendy Goodwin, Castle Point councillor responsible for housing said: “It’s totally wrong in this day and age that people have to share bathrooms, but some of this is budget constraints.

“New bathrooms are expensive, and until we get more money we sadly can’t do anything.”