Residents of a sheltered home earmarked for demolition are refusing to move.

A deal has been struck between Adur District Council and the Rosemary Simmons Memorial Housing Association to demolish Burdwood House sheltered accommodation and build new flats.

But the five women who still live in the 20 flat property in Brighton Road, Lancing, said today the housing association would have to secure a court order to evict them.

Rita Clarke, 81, said: "It's awful our society is not bothering to look after us.

"We all love our country and have worked hard all our lives for it and now we're being treated like this."

The housing association has argued that the home no longer meets current care home standards, including lacking a shared bathroom on the first floor.

The bedrooms are also said to not meet national standards of size and layout.

The five residents, who have been there for at least ten years, say they are perfectly happy and described the accommodation as "perfect".

Bett Collins, 82, said: "It's a beautiful home and it breaks our hearts to think they're going to knock it down.

"It's a ridiculous idea. Why knock down a place which is perfectly good enough to live in? We are staying put."

The death of Betty Park, 86, who died of an overdose on August 21, 2006, has already been blamed on the proposed closure.

She left a note by her bedside saying: "Do not resuscitate. I have had enough."

An inquest into her death heard evidence that Miss Park had grown increasingly upset at the proposed closure. It recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing that Miss Park had taken an overdose of paracetemol.

Today East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, cancelled a meeting he had arranged with the five residents at the last minute.

The MP said he wanted the meeting to be private but would not comment further on the cancellation.

Earlier this year Adur District Council agreed a £500,000 grant to redevelop the property.

A planning application could follow later this year.

The Rosemary Simmonds Housing Association said had found it "impossible" to let a series of unrefurbished flats on the first floor of the property and said this was one of the main reasons for the proposed closure.

Association chief executive Wendy Pridmore said: "We understand how difficult it is for the remaining few residents."

District council housing committee chairman Julie Searle said: "We don't want the residents getting upset about this.

"We have made it a condition to help them in any way we can but we agreed the site really does need rebuilding from scratch to bring it up to standard.

"The current residents will be given the chance to return to the new housing scheme when it is completed."

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