Unanimous: 1900 petitioners in favour of keeping wardens

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Around 1900 people have signed a petition drafted by sheltered housing residents in support of them keeping their wardens.

The tenants have been campaigning after fears their warden service may be axed, following a consultation period from Angus Council, as the authority tries to implement the Scottish Government initiative Self Directed Support (SDS).

A total of 1904 signatures have been received, 600 of which, from Montrose, have already been submitted to Angus Council. The rest will now be presented to the authority.

Tenants held a meeting at Arbroath’s Andy Stewart Court on Wednesday, for them to collate their petitions. The joint document has been signed by Beatrice Gerrard, tenant of Andy Stewart Court, on behalf of the sheltered housing residents in Angus.

Four councillors - Glennis Middleton, David Fairweather, Martyn Geddes and Jim Houston - were also present at the meeting, as well as Angus Council officials.

The petition was handed to Councillor David Fairweather, who will submit it to the council’s scrutiny and audit

committee.

He said: “The thing that has come out of this is, you are telling us what you want us to do. It is a marvellous amount of signatures that have been received. I trust that Angus Council will listen.

“Sheltered housing is called sheltered for a reason. It’s to support people.”

Arbroath resident Mary Reid, who is in support of the tenants and has been helping them campaign, said: “It has been felt that the community is concerned about what is happening.”

As well as submitting the petition, press cuttings will also be presented to the council.

Mary added: “It is hoped that the press coverage will give leverage and weight to what we are doing.”

A number of residents will be protesting outside the next full council meeting on Thursday, December 10.

Two tenants, Beatrice and Tom Fowler, of Jubilee Court in Letham, will speak as part of a deputation at the meeting. They will only have 10 minutes to make their case.

Ted Smith, resident at Blackfriars Court in Montrose, called for a public consultation.

He said: “It’s about time the public were able to have their say on this.”

Councillor Fairweather said he would back a public consultation.

It is understood that a motion for the topic of sheltered housing will be up at the full council meeting next Thursday, though no decision will be made until a report has been submitted to the Social Work and Health committee.

Some council officials were reluctant to speak in front of the press until a decision has been made.

That sentiment was echoed by Glennis Middleton, who said she was unable to address what turned out to be a public meeting, organised by “Montrose Churches Together” last week as there has been no outcome of the consultation as yet.

She said: “I agreed to have a discussion with church members. That is very different to an open public meeting.”