ELDERLY and vulnerable residents at a sheltered housing scheme in Lawford have been asked to leave their homes following a legionella scare.

Twelve residents have been asked to move out of Honeycroft, in Waldegrave Way, after housing bosses confirmed there is a potential risk of legionella at the site.

Tendring Council, which runs the scheme, said a decision has been made to relocate residents following advice from specialist consultants.

The consultants have taken water samples from the site which are due to be analysed.

Residents, who met with council staff on Thursday morning, will be provided with temporary council-owned accommodation while the investigation takes place.

Paul Honeywood, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for housing, said the move is a “precautionary measure” at this stage.

He said: “Legionella has not been positively identified in the water system at the site, but we have been told there is a high risk as the right conditions for legionella growth to develop have been identified.

“We are talking about vulnerable members of the community who need to be properly protected and we feel we need to take these steps now, rather than wait for the test results to come back.

“I wish to emphasise that legionella has not been found - and no one has become ill.”

Mr Honeywood said the risk involves the main Honeycroft building and bungalows at the same site are not affected as they are on a different water supply.

He said that a routine test carried out by the council showed that hot water was cooler than it should be, and the cold water is warmer than it should be, providing the conditions in which the legionella bacteria can grow.

The building dates from 1961, which means it has design issues that make it difficult to control water temperatures at a safe level to minimise that bacteria growth.

“All the residents involved will be supported on a one to one basis by a council officer and given the opportunity to move to alternative council accommodation within the district,” added Mr Honeywood.

“Officers will continue to work with the specialists to find a solution to the problem.”

Mr Honeywood added that the decision is separate to a review that is ongoing into the future of Honeycroft and Spendells House in Walton.

The council said both sites are outdated by modern standards and have been under occupied for years.