A family-of-three are the only residents left living in a block of flats after all of their neighbors were relocated. Craig Bourne and his mum and brother are the only remaining tenants in the doomed Hanley block, which is due to be demolished.
Craig, aged 38, has watched all of his neighbors move out of the low-rise block in Bucknall New Road. It is part of plans by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to bulldoze and replace eight low-rise blocks and maisonettes off Bucknall New Road.
The council first unveiled its proposals to redevelop the 155 Bucknall New Road flats in December 2018, and a new masterplan for the scheme is now being drawn up. Council chiefs are hoping to demolish the blocks within the next 12 months, although this will depend on how soon the last 20 remaining tenants and leaseholders can be moved away.
READ: New plans being drawn up to demolish and replace 155 ‘low quality’ council flats
Craig has lived in the three-bedroom flat for 10 years and says his family does not want to leave. He says the council should spend money repairing the flats, rather than knocking down their homes.
He said: “Everyone else has gone. It’s just me, my mum and my brother in one flat on the top floor.
“I do not see the point in them being knocked down. There’s nothing wrong with them.
“We’ve been here 10 years and we’re 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 do not know if we’re going to be here for another 12 months or five years. We haven’t actually been told when we’re actually moving.
“We do not want to move away from Hanley. My brother works at a garage nearby, my mum works on Victoria Road. It’s quick to get to Hanley and to and from work from here.
“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 do not see the point. If they just did some repairs, it would cost them less.
“We do not see the point in being moved. We will be sad to leave, but I can not see us moving in the next couple of years because there are not 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.
“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 center 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 lives in Ringland Close, another low-rise block of flats off Bucknall New Road that has been earmarked for demolition. The 35-year-old said: “It’s such a peaceful place to live. The flat is very nice and cozy.
“It would be very bad if they decided to knock these flats down. It will be a shame.
“It’s a very beautiful property. The flat is a nice and comfortable environment. It could do with some repairs, but it’s better then where I used to live. I’m very happy here.
“My flat has two bedrooms and it’s clean and tidy. It’s not bad at all. There’s nothing wrong with them. It’s very nice.”
Hani Hossenine is also the only remaining tenant in his block of flats on Ashmore Walk. They have also been earmarked for demolition, but Hani says he is happy to leave.
The 38-year-old said: “I’ve lived in this flat for 10 years. I do not like living here because there are too many problems with it, but I do not know where I will go. I’m happy to be moved when these can be knocked down. “
The council has previously earmarked the following blocks for demolition: Bucknall New Road (odd numbered properties), Dane Walk, Linfield Road (odd numbered properties), Ringland Close, St Ann Walk, Ashmore Walk, Bucknall New Road maisonettes (even numbered properties) , Linfield Road maisonettes (even numbered properties).
Most of the 155 homes within the blocks were already vacant when the plans were first unveiled, and the council says it will continue to rehouse residents and negotiate with leaseholders to acquire properties.
Councilor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for housing and the environment, 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 already have. 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. “
NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts from StokeonTrentLive directly to your inbox here