Families forced to move out of eco-flats ahead of major maintenance project
Tenants living in an award-winning eco-building in Bury St Edmunds have said plans to rehome them took them by surprise.
The 12 households living at the Goodfellows development in Kings Road/Parkway are being moved out while Havebury Housing Partnership, which manages the block, carries out maintenance work.
The timber building, which features wisteria and clematis growing up the outside, won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award in 2009 for sustainability.
Tenants in the 10-year-old building are being given a choice of accommodation for them to move to over the next few months.
Dan Campbell, who has lived there for eight years, said while news of the move "came out of the blue," it offered him the chance of a "new start".
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The 26-year-old has been offered a four-figure rehoming payment from Havebury, which he said would be very "helpful".
He added: "My particular flat needs a lot of work doing to it and not having to do it myself is a relief.
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"Moving home is very stressful. I'm lucky enough, I'm in a position where I can deal with that, but other people in this block may not have the same positive outlook."
The chef, who works in Bury, said when he was offered his flat at Goodfellows those years ago he "broke down" as it had come after a period of homelessness.
"That part of my life was over," he said. "I was quite vulnerable at the time."
He hopes his new property will meet his needs, such as being walking distance to work.
A spokeswoman for Havebury said the housing association is carrying out maintenance work to improve its sustainability for the future.
"However, due to its unique design, we will have to remove the windows, doors and staircase to carry out these improvements which would cause disruption to our tenants.
"Our tenants are being given a choice of accommodation to move to and Havebury are making every effort to find a suitable property to meet their needs."
She added they were working hard to ensure their tenants are happy with their new home and anticipate they will be moved and settled over the next few months.
"The works will begin once the building is vacant, which will enable us to have a better understanding of what improvements we can make to ensure it remains a comfortable place for our tenants to live in the future," she said.