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Benevolent Fund could sell Haywards Heath

THE ICE Benevolent Fund is looking to sell off its Haywards Heath estate, it was announced this week.

The Fund's trustees have decided a detailed analysis is needed to determine whether the benefits of keeping the estate outweigh the costs.

Last year the estate cost over £100,000 to run, but less than half of the estate properties are now occupied by ICE beneficiaries.

The estate consists of 17 houses and 16 flats and was recently valued at between £3.5M and £4M. It was built between 1938 and 1951 to accommodate needy ICE members.

But changes in state benefits and home ownership mean the fund now receives very few applications for accommodation.

'The trustees of the fund have a duty to optimise its use across all likely beneficiaries, ' said ICE chief executive Mike Casebourne. 'If their expert advisors suggest that this means selling Mill Hill Close, then they have a duty to consider it.'

Fund secretary Linda McCarthy added: 'We have beneficiaries around the world, and only a small number of them live at Mill Hill Close.'

Any money from the sale would go straight back into the fund, she explained.

'The number one priority now is to ensure that the residents are given every assistance should they have to move, ' she added.

However, the news comes as a blow to existing residents, who only recently heard that the Fund could no longer justify 24 hour a day, seven days a week care and assistance.

The trustees will be seeking advice from both inside and outside the Institution, with a decision expected by July.

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