Thursday, October 17, 2013

Visiting the new Sun Hill

Sun Hill Oct 13 6

When Gateshead Council proposed the demolition of Sun Hill Aged Persons Home in Sunniside in 2011 without replacing it, our campaign to ensure that a new facility was built hit the ground running. After a large number of meetings with officers, we got what we wanted: Sun Hill would be replaced, thanks to a housing grant from the Coalition Government.

Work started on the new building late last year on a site immediately next door to the existing Sun Hill. It is now approaching completion and the 17 residents of the old Sun Hill will move into their new flats in December.

On Wednesday, my two ward colleagues - Marilynn Ord and John McClurey - and I visited the new building. We came away very impressed.

Sun Hill Oct 13 3

Sun Hill Oct 13 2

You may just be able to make out the old Sun Hill behind the fence in the second photo above. Once the new building is occupied, the old one will be demolished. We are expecting that to start in March next year though there is a small job for me to do before that work can start. There is a feral honey bee colony living in the roof of the building and I am going to try to rescue it and use it as the start of a community beekeeping project. Gateshead Council transferred the ownership of the old building to Vela Housing Association last year (they are building the new Sun Hill though it will be managed by Gateshead.) Vela officers told me on Wednesday that they now think there are three honey bee colonies nesting in the roof. That could make the bee rescue operation a much bigger task than I contemplated when I first made the offer!

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