June 17, 2024

Let us into our dear mum’s flat … No, says Retirement Security. She did not want you in, and police have been notified

MeltonCourt2The two sons of 96-year-old Margaret Fenn, who had a stroke last Wednesday and is in hospital, have appealed to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation after being barred from her flat by Retirement Security.

This is the retirement housing firm headed by founder Bob Bessell.

In a communication that was sent to the local MP Robert Syms and others, the brothers attach what appears to be a cutting from the Poole Advertiser headed “Poole Retirement Home Denies Help to Family of Stroke Victim”.

Retirement Security is referred to as “heartless business bosses” for refusing to let Colin and Stan Fenn from gaining access to the flat.

“We can’t access photographs, toiletries, clothes, post or other personal items to make mum’s last few weeks more comfortable,” the brothers tell the newspaper.

“The coldness and intransigence of this company is mindblowing and deeply upsetting,” Colin Fenn says.

“Families considering sheltered living for elderly relatives should be made aware of the petty and intrusive red tape laid down by these firms. They don’t recognise extenuating circumstances. Their managers aren’t interested in the elderly as people; they’re only in it for the money.”

Sebastian O’Kelly, of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, replied as follows:

Dear Colin and Stan Fenn,

You have involved Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation in this correspondence.

This is an anxious time for your family, and I am sorry for it.

What you have sent me appears to be a newspaper report. It may not be the complete report, and I hope it isn’t as there is no quoted response from Retirement Security, although they are critcised as “heartless business bosses”.

I think there could be very sensible reasons to exclude relatives from the property of someone suffering a life-threatening condition.

I would have thought that there were plenty of scope for sensible discretionary decisions to admit relatives to obtain day-to-day necessities.

This may be an example of petty and intrusive red tape, as you claim. But it may not be.

I don’t agree with your point that Retirement Security is “only in it for the money”. Its founder Bob Bessell recently announced handing over the £7 million freehold portfolio to the leaseholding residents.

I would hope that good sense prevails here.

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation’s reply went back to all the parties in the correspondence.

Bob Bessell subsequently replied:

“The truth of the matter is that Mrs Fenn, senior has not seen her son, Colin for a number of years and she gave specific instructions to the Manager of Melton Court, XXX that he was not to be given access to her apartment in Melton Court, Poole.

“I understand this is recorded in the Record Book at Melton Court.

“This was corroborated to me, personally by XXX, Mrs Fenn senior’s financial adviser.

“Because Colin Fenn and his wife have made such strenuous efforts to gain access to the apartment, contrary to his mother’s wishes, the matter has been reported both to the Police and the Safeguarding Service in Poole.

“You are welcome to make this information public.”