Christmas cheer for Leeds pensioners

CHRISTMAS has come early for a group of Leeds pensioners after retirement home bosses had second thoughts about closing their popular bar.

More than 50 elderly residents at the Woodview independent living complex in Swarcliffe organised a protest petition when managers at Bradford-based Anchor Trust told them they would shut the bar this week because customers from outside were coming in and causing trouble.

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They had been backed by a further petition from 100 neighbours who live near the complex in Eastwood Drive.

Woodview residents feared they would have no social focal point for Christmas. A whole range of parties and bingo nights had been pencilled in at the bar.

Now Anchor bosses are postponing their decision on the bar until the New Year.

Andrew Reston, regional manager for Anchor, said: "We aim to help our customers lead happy and fulfilling lives and their safety and security must always be our paramount concern.

"We therefore wrote to customers at Woodview in early November informing them that we intended to close the bar.

"Later that month we met with customers and explained matters. Because of the strength of feeling expressed we agreed to withdraw the decision and consult further with them.

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"As part of this consultation we sent all customers a questionnaire. We now have the results and will be reviewing them in the New Year. We will also be consulting with the police and licensing authority before we make a decision on the bar's future."

Joyce Coyle, 77, who had co-ordinated the protest petition said that everybody at Woodview was in favour of keeping the bar.

She added: "At least we have got it for Christmas."

Residents had also been upset that the complex's gym had been shut six months ago.

Mr Reston said: "The gym has been closed temporarily so that we can carry out a routine health and safety assessment. We are sorry that this has taken longer than we had expected and hope to reopen it as soon as possible."

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