A sheltered housing complex in Harrow is to be demolished and replaced with much-needed homes for residents with greater needs.
Most of the 50 elderly tenants have been moved out of Price Court, Hines Court, Fenn Court and Challiner Court, all in Richards Close, in anticipation of Harrow Churches Housing Association (HCHA) winning permission for the £9million project.
The 55 flats, opened in 1974, have no lifts, are too small and have kitchens and bathrooms difficult to adapt, while the new 'extra care' apartments will have lifts, specially-adapted bathrooms, storage for electric wheelchairs and better communal facilities.
There will be 47 'extra care' flats, 22 shared ownership apartments and seven disabled-friendly flats for people under retirement age, in two blocks ranging from two to four floors. Some have two bedrooms to enable couples to live together.
Everyone who was relocated from the current buildings during the past 12 months was interviewed and assessed to find them a suitable home, some with HCHA, based at Penn House, Peterborough Road, or another provider such as Harrow Council.
HCHA chief executive Christopher Holley said: "Most of the people have been relocated and we will house the final few over the next three to four weeks when they have chosen where they wish to live. We hope to start on site in early February and will be holding consultating meetings with neighbours and residents early in the new year."
Funding for the scheme will come from the Housing Corporation - HCHA bid for £7m - and £2.5m from HCHA's own coffers.
Mr Holley said HCHA will liaise with Harrow Council to work out who should be offered tenancy at the new Richards Close homes, which will take 20 months to complete.
Current residents may be considered, particularly if their condition deteriorates in the meantime, but having moved once, people may be reluctant to switch again. Mr Holley said: "'Extra care'flats are not common in Harrow. We responded to the council's Old Person's Housing Strategy and we're filling a gap.
"When the present flats were built in the 1970s the average length of stay was five years. Now the average is 15 years, and some stay up to 20.
"The new flats will allow people to live on their own for much longer, rather than having to go into residential care."
Harrow Council's strategic planning committee granted permission for the scheme last Wednesday.