RESIDENTS of Kytes Estate in Garston, which was built to house disabled ex-servicemen, have reacted angrily to news it will be sold.

The estate, off St Albans Road, was built after the Second World War as a "home for heroes", but is now being sold because there are no longer enough war wounded to take up its homes.

The estate is run by a joint committee of St John Ambulance and the Red Cross. Committee member Geoff Gorham said: "In recent years, we have become increasingly concerned that not enough ex-servicemen are living on the estate to meet the charitable intentions of the original donors.

"I am not certain exactly how many ex-servicemen are now living there, but it is not very many."

The committee has decided to sell the estate and invest the money it makes in schemes which will help ex-servicemen in other ways. It is as yet undecided what these will be.

Tenders are being invited from housing associations wanting to buy the land, on condition that existing conditions for tenants must be maintained.

Mr Gorham said: "It is paramount that whoever we sell it to guarantees the future of the current tenants and that their interests will be respected."

Some residents on the estate, however, claim it has been run down in recent years through lack of funds.

One ex-serviceman, who did not want to be identified, said: "This used to be a lovely estate but it has fallen apart.

"It takes a long time to get anything done and, when it is done, it is done badly.

"We are worried about somebody else coming in to run it and I do not think it will get any better.

"The excuse that they cannot get enough ex-servicemen is rubbish.There have been a lot of civilians, as we call them, on the estate for ages."

Despite the fears of some residents, the sale is planned to go ahead and ideas for how the cash could be used to help ex-servicemen have been called for.

Mr Gorham said: "We really need ideas from members of the public and ex-servicemen to find ways this money can be used for the original intentions of the estate.

"We would be very interested to hear from anybody who can help."

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