Friday, 29 May 2009

New Wortley says: Hands Off Our T-Blocks

Residents on New Wortley estate are stepping up their fight to stop the demolition of 36 homes on the estate. The buildings – six houses and five 'T'-blocks of flats all built in the 1970s—are mostly empty but 11 contain families.

The controversial plan will cost around £500,000. Refurbishing them now would be 40 per cent cheaper at around £300,000. However council bosses say the homes would have to be demolished in five years anyway because of their weak structure, by which time demolition costs would be £1 million.

Local residents are demanding to see the evidence, asking why only these homes are affected and not the rest of the estate. Maureen Ingham, chair of the Residents Action Group, smells a rat:

“Since they first threatened us with much larger numbers of demolitions, we have always believed the Council really wants to sell off the land for private development.

Defiant council tenant David Ralph has told the Council to 'bring on the bulldozers'. He only found out his home was being demolished after talking to a water board worker. The father of six has lived with his family in Clyde Walk for nearly a decade and says no amount of compensation will convince him to move.

"I don't want to move – it's lovely community and a close community. My family will be sitting here until the bulldozers come. We know they want to make this into a Leeds 1 postcode. They just want to rip the place down. But we are not going anywhere."

Residents have asked Yorkshire Planning Aid to help them draw up a local community plan and are challenging council bosses to let THEM decide the fate of their own neighbourhood.



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