A double amputee from Hereford is ‘over the moon’ with a new home which is being specially adapted for his needs. Father-of-two Peter Virgo has just moved into a flat at the newly built Lea Terrace development, in Hereford. The complex of eight flats, all for affordable rent, has been built on the site of the disused LEA Swimming Pool. Peter’s flat is being specially adapted – with a wet room, low kitchen work surfaces, grab rails and a slabbed garden – to cater for him having to spend a lot of time in his wheelchair.
The 46-year-old had to have his legs amputated after corrective surgery failed to repair tendons and ligaments damaged during his 20 years as a window cleaner. Peter also suffers from a neurological condition which means he cannot wear his prosthetic legs for long periods, so needs to use a wheelchair as much as possible. He said: “I have been in temporary accommodation for the last 10 months which wasn’t wheelchair friendly so, whenever I had to take off my prosthetic legs, I was basically bedbound. “I was desperate to find somewhere more suitable but nothing was available until now. It is a massive relief – I feel I can settle and relax in a permanent home at last. “I really am over the moon with this flat. It’s very roomy so there’s lots of space for me to get around in my wheelchair and plenty of places for storage too – it’s ideal.”
Peter joined his neighbours and VIPs to celebrate completion of the new housing scheme at a ceremony held at nearby Hinton Community Centre on Friday (21st July). Local councillor Chris Chappell attended the event, along with representatives of WM Housing Group, Leominster-based construction contractor J Harper & Sons and Herefordshire County Council. Nick Edge, Project Manager at WM Housing Group, said: “We are thrilled to welcome all our new residents to Lea Terrace and delighted that Peter’s flat will make his life much more comfortable. “There is a pressing need for more affordable homes in Hereford, and this development helps meet that need while bringing a disused site back into use for the benefit of local people.”
Work started on the development in August last year after demolition of the old swimming pool, which the council closed in 2009 due to the building’s long-term structural defects. The local authority reluctantly decided to dispose of the site in July 2015 after it was estimated that bringing the pool back into use would cost around £5 million. Redevelopment has cost £763,000, supported by funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. The new homes are being managed by West Mercia Homes.