Anger as Gentoo tenants in Washington lose garages and are offered replacements 'miles away' from their homes

Housing group Gentoo has been slammed by tenants after it ordered them to clear out their garages prior to demolition and offered replacements ‘in other areas of Washington’.

Residents in Albany Village Centre were sent letters in August saying that they had to empty the 15 rented garages by September 30.

Gentoo say it would cost too much to repair or replace them and that the area would be used for public parking.

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But four identical Gentoo garages a few metres away are to stay.

Gentoo residents, from left, John Stephenson, Graham Flynn and Bob Hall are among the Gentoo residents who are angry that the garages are to be demolished.

Residents say a meeting with the group’s head of neighbourhoods Alan Duffy on September 29 was pointless, as the demolition is to proceed regardless.

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Alternatives have been offered elsewhere, but some tenants have complained the replacements are impractical, while others say they haven’t been offered anything.

One tenant, Bob Hall, said: “I could run an extension to the garage from my house. They said there were other garages in Washington. I said ‘How long do you think the extension is?’ They haven’t offered me another garage. Others have been offered them in in Donwell and Columbia.

Residents disagree with Gentoo that the garages are in bad condition.

“One lady here has a blind husband. One lad has had to sell his motorbike. Gentoo has just walked over the residents.

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“They say the garages are in disrepair, but they’re not – if they are it’s because they haven’t kept up the maintenance.

“If they are turned into a car park, we’re going end up with a load of idiots tearing round here.”

Gentoo has apologised for the inconvenience.

Gentoo are to demolish 15 Albany garages, but leave four.
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Director of asset and sustainability, Marc Edwards, said: “Gentoo has carried out independent structural assessments across all of our garages.

"We have identified major structural issues with the garages at Albany Village Centre which deems them unsafe for use.

“As our focus is to invest in our tenants’ homes, Gentoo will not be repairing or replacing these garages, as it does not demonstrate good value for money.

"The garages will be demolished and the land will be transformed to a spacious car park for local residents.

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An artist's impression of what the car park replacing the 15 garages will look like.

“All impacted tenants were served five weeks’ notice and offered to apply for an alternative garage.

"This was a difficult decision which was not taken lightly and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”