THE future of sheltered housing complexes in South Gloucestershire is in doubt.

Merlin Housing has confirmed this week that it is considering the future of Prinknash Court in Yate, Ware Court in Winterbourne, Haddrell Court in Alveston and Ableton Court in Severn Beach after a review of all 50 of the organisation’s sheltered housing schemes across South Gloucestershire.

The review, carried out by ARK Housing Consultancy, concluded that 10 sites in the district would need significant investment to remain open.

Merlin has earmarked just £7.2 million to help pay for necessary improvements at all 50 of its sheltered housing schemes.

Sally Wilcox, head of supported housing at Merlin Housing, said: "Their key finding for us was that ten of our schemes may not be viable beyond five years without significant remodelling work."

Merlin has already begun holding meetings with the residents at the 10 identified schemes. However, the organisation has assured residents that no plans are yet in place to close any of its housing schemes.

Ms Wilcox said: "We are not rushing into any decisions based on this report. We have appointed a project manager who will lead on an intensive options appraisal and resident consultation process for each of these schemes so that we can make an informed and careful decision about them.

"We’re committed to involving and informing residents about what is happening, which is why we are holding meetings with all our residents."

The other sites facing an uncertain future are Newleaze House and Buckingham House in Filton, Langdale Court and Charlton Court in Patchway, Neate Court in Little Stoke and Irving Close in Staple Hill.

Merlin, which took over South Gloucestershire Council’s social housing in 2007, said 80 per cent of its sheltered housing provision had a long-term future.

Since 2007 Merlin has invested £50 million into its entire housing stock, and plans to spend a further £20 million by 2013 to improve kitchens, central heating, and security measures in homes.

Merlin has said it will make a decision on the future of all 10 schemes by May next year.