AFTER three years, pensioner Jo Doherty is back where she belongs at a sheltered housing block in Oxford.

Bradlands House, a 40-year-old sheltered housing block in Mill Lane, Old Marston, was demolished to make way for a new modern housing complex for older residents.

The new Oxford City Council-owned scheme which officially opened last Friday and features 49 one- and two-bedroom flats.

The redevelopment is part of the council’s Affordable Homes Project under which 113 new homes were provided across five sites. The council invested £17m in the project, with the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency providing another £2.4m.

Jo Doherty, 66, was one of the residents who met Oxford East MP Andrew Smith at the official opening.

While the redevelopment was taking place she had to move to sheltered accommodation in Risinghurst.

She said: “I like my new one-bedroom flat.

“There wasn’t enough room in the bedsit I was in before.

“I suffer from osteoarthritis so my bathroom has been specially adapted. The new flat has got everything I could want.”

While the redevelopment was going on, some residents took the opportunity to move closer to family and friends. Six of the previous occupants have now returned to flats in the new development.

Mike Rowley, the council’s board member for housing, said: “I’m delighted that we have redeveloped Bradlands to a high quality and also increased the number of flats.”

Features include fitted kitchens, a communal garden and communal lounge. There is CCTV on each floor with a door-entry system for residents to see who is calling from a channel on their TVs.

The other schemes in the Affordable Homes Project are at Leiden Road in Wood Farm, Cardinal Close in Littlemore, Locks Court in Bury Knowle Park, Headington, and at Denny Close, Minchery Farm.

Mr Smith said: “It’s a wonderful development and Jo’s flat looked lovely – there’s a great sense of community already.”