Blaenavon town councillor Alan Jones quits Bron Afon board after criticism
A COUNTY councillor has quit the board of Bron Afon housing association after he was openly criticised in a letter from the association to an Assembly Member.
Cllr Alan Jones announced his resignation from the board at Blaenavon Town Council, on which he also sits.
He said a letter from Bron Afon director of community housing and support Ian Simpson describing the events surrounding the controversial closure of Kennard Court retirement housing scheme in Blaenavon, was openly critical of his involvement in public meetings.
The five-page letter, was sent to William Powell AM who is chairing an assembly committee considering a petition submitted about the closure.
It describes the events surrounding the closure of a retirement housing scheme from Bron Afon's point of view.
Mr Simpson wrote that the retirement scheme homes were in low demand, including Kennard Court, but that it would cost £26million to demolish and build new accommodation of a suitable modern standard.
Kennard Court was identified for closure due to being "riddled with asbestos" and its elderly residents were consulted in person, the letter said.
But residents claimed Bron Afon had left them in the dark, and the housing association was forced to apologise after a letter mix-up in April gave them false hope that they would be able to stay in their homes.
A heated public meeting took place that month with Bron Afon, chaired by Cllr Jones.
In the letter, Mr Simpson wrote: "We went out to the four schemes and talked to tenants collectively in coffee mornings and individually regarding their views.
"In Kennard Court we proposed to decommission the scheme completely and move everyone out and use the building and land for some alternative use.
"Unfortunately the position has been confused by the intervention of local councillors who have not only confused the facts but also created a lot of anxiety amongst the tenants."
At Blaenavon town council Cllr Alan Furzer said the housing association had handled the moving of tenants poorly, while Cllr Alan Jones called for a "strongly-worded letter" to be sent in response.
A letter from Paul Murphy MP to Cllr Jones said: "We were well within our rights to voice concerns at the way the whole episode was handled."
Speaking after the meeting Councillor Jones told the Free Press" "What Bron Afon fail to understand and admit is the way they mismanaged the process, their uncaring attitude toward the elderly who were living at Kennard Court and their incompetency which was farcical in sending out the wrong information to residents.
"I was put in a position as a Bron Afon board member where my position was made untenable and forced my resignation.
"I shall be responding this week to the Welsh Government and to Bron Afon to their letter."