A FAMILY are the only remaining tenants living in a doomed low-rise block – as a council are determined to demolish their home.
Craig Bourne, 38, has seen all of his neighbours move out of their homes in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, in the past few months.
Craig, his mum and brother want to remain living at the flatCredit: BPM
Under council proposals their home will be demolishedCredit: BPM
Stoke-on-Trent City Council are planning to bulldoze and replace eight of the low-rise blocks and maisonettes to replace them with newer buildings.
They are hoping to carry out the first phase of the demolition on Bucknall New Road, Hanley, within the next 12 months, but their plans depend on how soon the properties can empty.
Craig and his family have lived in their flat for ten years, and want the council to repair the flats rather than knocking them down.
He said: “Everyone else has gone. It’s just me, my mum and my brother in one flat on the top floor.
“I don’t see the point in them being knocked down. There’s nothing wrong with them.
“We’ve been here 10 years and we are happy here. But now we’ve been told they’re going to knock them down and we’re going to have to move.
“Everybody else has gone and we’re just waiting to hear. We don’t know if we’re going to be here for another 12 months or five years.
“We’ve not actually been told when we’re actually moving.
“We don’t want to move away from Hanley. They should leave the flats alone. It would cost them less to refurbish the flats, the kitchen and bathrooms just need sorting.
“It’s just wasting money because these flats are still liveable. They spent thousands of pounds about three or four years ago putting new fire safety doors in.
“We had all new doors and now they’re knocking them down. The doors cost the council a couple of grand each.
“When they did the main road, they also installed new banisters in the tarmacking here. That’s another grand and a half.
“It’s just bonkers. It’s wasting money and I don’t see the point. If they just did some repairs, it would cost them less.
“We don’t see the point in being moved. We will be sad to leave, but I can’t see us moving in the next couple of years because there aren’t many three-bedroom houses in this area.
“I have friends that need two or three-bedroom flats. If they just refurbished these, it would be so much easier and people could move back in. It’s just wear and tear.
‘WE DON’T SEE THE POINT’
“I’m against them knocking the flats down, it’s just a waste of money. It’s like Hanley bus station and Meigh Street car park.
“They knocked down the old bus station to build a new one and a shopping centre in its place, but that never happened. They’re now knocking down the car park to build another one.
“We’d prefer the council to just update the flats and repair the jobs so we can stay where we are. There’s a lot of room in this block of flats just for us three.”
Temitope Adegboye, 35, lives in Ringland Close, another low-rise block of flats off Bucknall New Road that has been earmarked for demolition.
She added: “It’s such a peaceful place to live. The flat is very nice and cosy.
“It would be very bad if they decided to knock these flats down. It will be a shame.”
It’s just wasting money because these flats are still liveable.
Most of the 155 homes within the blocks were already vacant when the plans were first unveiled.
The council says that it will continue to rehouse residents and negotiate with leaseholders to acquire properties.
Councillor Carl Edwards said: “We’ll continue conversations with the residents that are still there, and work with them to find suitable accommodation and better accommodation that they’re happy with.
“So we’ll continue to chat and work our way through it with them.
“The Bucknall New Road development forms part of the strategy to improve the quality of housing in the city – whether it’s council housing or private, it matters not – we need to improve what we have already.
“There will be some housing revenue account properties which are no longer viable, and not worth repairing and maintaining.
“We’ll replace them with new, modern, well-designed buildings, for current and future tenants.”