MORE than 40 elderly people in Wellington will be looking for a new place to live after a care company announced it was shutting down two of its sheltered housing sites.

Sheltered Housing is a type of accommodation for older people who are mainly retired and can live independently but choose to live in a safe and secure environment.

The Abbeyfield Society currently runs two such sites in Wellington – Ivy House on the B3187 Station Road (near the town’s sports centre) and The Old Vicarage on the B3187 High Street (near the Asda and Waitrose supermarkets).

The company – which operates similar facilities in Burnham-on-Sea, Dulverton, Sherborne, Taunton, Wells and  Weston-super-Mare – informed Somerset Council on Tuesday (April 23) that it would be shutting down both Wellington sites, following a consultation which began in May 2023.

The company said it had been unable to find a new operator for either location and declined to specify how soon the sites would shut.

A spokesman said: “Since the consultation began, we have consulted at length with a large number of stakeholders about the potential options available to try and keep the homes open and serving their community.

“Having explored all avenues we cannot see a way of maintaining the properties as financially sustainable services that are fit for purpose in the future.

“As a charity, we never want to close any of our homes, however, part of being a responsible organisation is recognising when you need to make a difficult decision, and this regretfully was one of those occasions.

“Our priority now that we have announced closure is to provide affected residents with the support they need to find alternative accommodation where they will be happy.

“We will be doing everything we can to ensure that the closure and moving process runs as smoothly as possible for them.”

The council said its adult social care team would support the 45 residents affected by these closures to find alternative accommodation.

Councillor Sarah Wakefield, portfolio holder for adult social care, said: “I am saddened and concerned by the news that Ivy House and The Old Vicarage will be closing, and understand the impact that this will have on the residents and their loved ones.

“We had hoped that it might be possible for another operator to take over these facilities, but this has not proved possible.

“Our teams are willing and prepared to help them through this difficult time and will absolutely make sure they have access to the support and information they need.

“We recognise the value and importance of sheltered housing for older people in our communities, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of affordable and quality accommodation for our ageing population in Somerset.”

This announcement follows a successful campaign to prevent two care homes from closing, with Sunnymeade in Chard and Critchill Court in Frome being saved at the eleventh hour after a new operator was secured.

Councillor Federica Smith-Roberts, portfolio holder for communities, housing and culture, said: “I am deeply saddened by the news that The Abbeyfield Society will be closing Ivy House and The Old Vicarage, which have been home to many older people in our community for years.

“We understand that this must have been a very difficult decision, but we are concerned about the impact these closures will have on residents, their families, and staff at both homes.

“People who live in sheltered housing tend to be elderly and vulnerable, and need stability and security.

“Supporting affected residents to find alternative accommodation that meets their needs and preferences is our top priority, and we will work closely with Abbeyfield to ensure a smooth and respectful transition for everyone involved.”

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: “It is understandable that emotions are running high amongst the residents and staff of both Ivy House and the Old Vicarage.

“This announcement by Abbeyfield that both properties will close is a disappointing outcome following all of the representations made and extensive consultation.

“For all of the residents concerned, this is home and facing an uncertain future is extremely distressing for many.

“Following my meeting today with Abbeyfield I have received assurances that every assistance will be given to help residents identify appropriate accommodation to suit their needs.

“It must be remembered that each resident is on an assured tenancy and Abbeyfield have no powers of eviction and this needs to be respected.

“I have also received assurances that staff will be retained and services will continue to be delivered according to the resident’s service agreements for as long as required.

“I am pleased that each resident and their family representatives will receive a one-to-one meeting with Abbeyfield to discuss their individual case.

“It is important that the hard-working and dedicated staff are also fully engaged in any plans.”

Abbeyfield’s decision has been strongly criticised by Gideon Amos, who will be standing for the Liberal Democrats to represent Taunton and Wellington at the next general election.

Speaking at a meeting held at Ivy House on Tuesday (April 23), he said: “I feel the same anger that the many long-term residents feel.

“They should stay put and have every right to do so, and Abbeyfield must be persuaded to drop whatever price they have been asking and try harder to find a new owner.

“I was glad at least to get confirmation at the meeting that Abbeyfield would still be open to discussions about a takeover of the properties, but have also been told Wellington Town Council’s offers to help have not been taken up.

“If that’s the case, it is shocking and has to change. It’s time people’s homes and peace of mind were put above cold hard cash.”

If you or a family member are affected by these closures, visit