AN MP has pledged to work with a charity to help secure the future of an historic development of bungalows that enable older people to live independently.

The Sir ED Walker Homes site, in the West End of Darlington, was created in 1928 following a bequest from the estate of Sir Edward Daniel Walker, a former Mayor of Darlington and local businessman.

The development comprises 55 single-bedroom bungalows, designated as almshouses, in a village atmosphere. The original intention was to provide homes for the “poor and needy of Darlington”. Today, the bungalows provide safe accommodation in a picturesque environment for older people capable of independent living.

There are currently 54 residents on the site who receive care provision. They also have the reassurance of a pull-cord system through the night, linking to Darlington Borough Council’s Lifeline service.

However, the bungalows, the majority of which are over 90-years-old, need upgrading prompting the Board of Trustees to consider the best way to preserve Sir E D Walker’s vision.

As part of that process, Darlington MP Peter Gibson was given a tour of the site by board members, including chairman Alasdair MacConachie, vice chairman Colin Price and treasurer Catherine Sunley. He also talked to site manager Jane Reed and some of the residents.

After the tour, Mr Gibson said: “I was delighted to visit Sir E D Walker Homes and to get a better understanding of the site. It’s been great to see what a wonderful community there is here and to witness the great work that Jane does.

“It’s also been important to learn more about the challenges the trustees face in meeting the charitable objectives, in maintaining good, warm, decent homes that are fit for the future. I look forward to working with the trustees as they develop their plans.”

Mr Price said: “The Sir E D Walker Homes site is a much-loved part of Darlington, but the bungalows are showing their age, so it’s the responsibility of the trustees to map out the best route to preserve the homes for the future.

“There is no proposed resolution at the moment, we are simply at the stage of exploring all the options, and we felt it was important to give the local MP an opportunity to find out more about the site.”

Mr MacConachie said: “Sir E D Walker Homes has a special place in Darlington’s heritage and is a community in its own right, so it is important that the MP takes an interest.”

Mrs Sunley added: “It is such a beautiful and important site and the intention is to find the best way to preserve it and ensure it is here for the future.”