'Let us stay in our homes,' say desperate Tytherington families
FAMILIES in Tytherington whose houses have been earmarked for demolition by their social landlord for "no apparent reason" have spoken of their despair at losing their home, uprooting their children and parting with their memories.
A total of four semi-detached terraces in Southlands will be torn down by Merlin Housing Society as part of £20 million plans region-wide to upgrade outdated post-war properties.
While 124 will be refurbished, 54 will be razed to make way for modern 21st century houses fitted with efficient heating, new bathrooms and kitchens.
The move baffled the villagers whose homes were renovated just three years ago, they said, with new kitchens and bathrooms installed and their heating replaced.
Along with their neighbours, who live in private properties along the street, they have lodged an application to have the large communal lawn outside their homes declared a protected village green to halt Merlin in its tracks and stop the housing society from building an access road right across the estate.
According to residents, the four houses would be replaced by ten new homes.
Annette Davis, who lives in one of the four properties with partner Craig Sutton and their two children, Craig, 12, and Rio, 11, both of whom have learning disabilities, told the Gazette:
"We were moved here in 2010 on special needs grounds. We got a letter from Craig's consultant saying it would be damaging for him to move. He will be a victim if we move anywhere else. It's just horrible.
"We feel settled. We don't even want to use the garden anymore. It's just a reminder of what we might lose. It has been so stressful."
Her partner added: "We were supposed to have a surveyor come and talk to us about the future but they never did. We are in limbo. Merlin claim that their tenants are at the heart of everything they do but they don't tell us anything.
"They say we could come back but we don't know if it will be like for like."
Their neighbour Julian Hughes, who has lived on the street for ten years with his children, said: "It would destroy the community. It is my home. My wife died and my memories are here."
Although their homes have been technically earmarked for demolition since November, no concrete moving dates or details have been confirmed, adding to residents' stress, they said.
Pete Vinden, who lives with next door with his wife April, said:
"We are told one thing and then somebody else is told something else. I'm becoming disillusioned with Merlin."
A Merlin Housing Society spokesman said new kitchens and bathrooms had been installed in the properties to bring them up to meet the government's decent homes standard by the end of 2010.
The spokesman said: "We have been in regular contact with the residents in Southlands during the past two years and recently wrote to them to let them know that their homes would be in the final phase of the project. This will be in at least five years time.
"Twelve months before we start work in Tytherington, our project housing officer will visit all of the residents to discuss their needs. We will then work with them to find them somewhere to live, while we build them a brand new home in the village. As part of this process residents will also be able to have a say in the layout of the new homes on the site.
"We are aware of an application to turn a green space in Southlands into a village green. This would not affect our ability to redevelop the properties, but would mean we wouldn’t be able to provide off-street parking for the new properties.
"We recognise that this process can be difficult for residents. We’ve been keeping people updated through letters and newsletters throughout the past two years and are happy to visit any of the four families if they would like to discuss the project."
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