A HOUSING complex for retired residents is set to open its doors to younger crowd in a bid to save it from closure.

Southampton City Council has been struggling to find older people to move into their supported housing complex at Ventnor Court.

Council bosses are expected to agree to lowering the minimum age limit to 55 in an effort to fill up the empty spaces while, at the same time, deal with an ever growing council waiting list.

Currently some 14,500 people are waiting for homes in the city so the authority hopes by lowering the age range at Ventnor Court some spare capacity can be used.

The council had considered selling the 122-apartment complex but Cabinet member for housing, Warwick Payne, said he wanted to see 100 per cent occupancy at the estate instead.

“You have to make a decision one way or another to either pull out of that scheme or to change it,” he said. “Anything below 100 per cent occupancy isn’t enough. If a place is available to let it should be occupied.”

However, the decision has not been welcomed by all existing residents.

Alan Kebbell , 68, said he feared the move would bring problems not just with the new tenants but with the infrastructure too.

“There would be antisocial behaviour, noise, we just don’t need it,” he said. “When I was 55 I still played my music loud. People aged 55 will be working too and they will have their cars.

“The car park is always full with council workers, care workers. If we get people who are 55 and their families the car park will not be big enough.”

Meetings were held at the start of last year with the residents to find a way of getting more people into the complex.

Initially proposals to get tenants from the age of 50 upwards before a compromise was found with new tenants aged 55 to 60.

The decision is due to be made on Monday, after which the council said it would do some improvement work at the complex.