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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Rural Age Concern Darent Valley on High Street Swanley will likely close for good on March 31

04 March 2014
by Thom Morris

Age Concern in Swanley will be evicted from its High Street home later this month and has indicated it is likely to close.

Rural Age Concern Darent Valley (RACDV) was served with an eviction notice by landlord Sevenoaks council saying it needed to leave the property by March 31.

The Meeting Point Building in Swanley High Street functions as a charity shop, main office and also offers an advice service, along with hot meals, chiropody, help with shopping and a library.

Age Concern Darent Valley, 27-37 High Street, Swanley

Age Concern Darent Valley, 27-37 High Street, Swanley

But a spokesman for the charity said options to move elsewhere are limited and will probably be forced to close.

They told the Messenger: “RACDV is urgently researching the possibility of alternative premises in Swanley with a view of retaining its essential services in the town, but options appear very limited.

“Otherwise, its operations at the Cottage Day Centre in Fawkham and those at New Ash Green will continue and we will attempt to accommodate additional clients where possible.

“However, without consideration by the council or the finding of alternative premises in the area, our many essential services to the frail and disabled elderly in the area will be forced to shut down.”

In a report, the council said: “RACDV has occupied the majority of this building rent-free for over a decade.

"The building is in need of significant investment which the council does not have the budget to fund.

"Given that this property is a net cost to the council every year, a decision has been made to serve notice on the occupiers in order to obtain vacant possession of the property and dispose of the asset on a freehold basis.”

The council said the option of RACDV doing the work to fix the building itself at its own cost and then paying rent was offered but declined.

Age Concern Darent Valley, 27-37 High Street, Swanley

Age Concern Darent Valley, 27-37 High Street, Swanley

The RACDV spokesman added: “The loss of our charity shop will result in the loss of substantial income and the provision of free or low cost goods to the frail elderly, together with the loss of our loyal volunteers. Staff redundancies may be required.

“With the ever reducing services provided by the Statutory Services, the closure of Northfleet, Swancombe, Chatham and Honeyfields Centres for the elderly, the reducing grants paid to this charity by KCC, together with the actual and projected large increase in the number of elderly and frail residents in the North Kent Area over retirement age, the future indeed looks bleak for the frail elderly.”

The organisation originally formed in 1951 as the Dartford Rural District Old People’s Welfare Committee.

It became Age Concern Dartford Rural in March 1973, with the current name adopted in June 1996.

People attending come from areas including Hartley, Hextable, Horton Kirby, New Ash Green, South Darenth, Swanley, Swanley Village, Wilmington, Bean, Darenth, Hawley, Longfield, Southfleet and Sutton-at-Hone.

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