Residents in shock after being told their homes will be knocked down instead of improved

Tenant Linda Lovell with her belongings packed.
Tenant Linda Lovell with her belongings packed.
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Shocked residents of a South Tyneside street have beentold their homes are to be knocked down.

South Tyneside Council plans to demolish 43 council-owned prefabricated homes in Eskdale Drive, on the Lakes Estate, Jarrow, and build new ones on the same site.

Eskdale Drive, Lakes Estate.

Eskdale Drive, Lakes Estate.

The properties had been due to receive Decent Homes works and contractor Keepmoat started on site in late July.

But council bosses say that surveys found the properties were in worse condition than first anticipated, meaning that planned works would take much longer and at a much higher cost than originally budgeted.

Further investigations concluded that bringing the properties up to Decent Homes standard was not economic or affordable.

The council has now decided to decommission council-owned properties and negotiate to purchase seven privately owned homes. Resident Linda Lovell says she was packed up and ready to move to temporary accommodation for upgrade work to begin on her house this week until she received a letter saying her home of 15 years would be demolished.

Demolition plan for Eskdale Drive, lakes Estate.

Demolition plan for Eskdale Drive, lakes Estate.

The 63-year-old said: “I got the letter this morning and I just felt sick. At the end of the day, they’re going to build new houses here and we can move back, but it’s going to be a lot of upheaval.

“The house I’m going into hasn’t been done under Decent Homes yet and I could have put up with that for 11 weeks while the work was done in my house, but how long will I be there now waiting for them to knock this one down and build a new one?”

The gran-of-two added: “I’m sad to think I’m going to lose my house.

“I like it here and I like this estate, I always have.

“I’m all boxed up and ready to move, but now I’ll need to sort through everything again because I’ll need more if I’m going to be away from home for longer.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I moved here five years ago because my other house was getting knocked down.

“I wasn’t really shocked when I got the letter. I knew they were having a meeting and I had a feeling this was going to happen.”

All tenants will be given the priority to move into suitable alternative accommodation and will receive home loss payments to compensate them for the loss of their homes.

The council will work with owner occupiers in order to secure the rest of the site and bring forward brand new replacement homes.

Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: “This will undoubtedly be a distressing time for the residents of Eskdale Drive and their families.

“Unfortunately we have had no other alternative but to take the decision to decommission the properties and rebuild new homes.

“Intrusive works found that the continuation of the planned Decent Homes work would no longer represent value for money

“I can assure residents that we will work with them to secure sustainable housing that meets their needs.”

“Tenants can choose to stay in their decant property, move somewhere else on a like-for-like basis for their needs or be allocated a new build property at the site in a clear time line. We are now working to progress plans for brand-new housing provision on the site as quickly as possible so that tenants are able to weigh up their options.”

Independent advice will be made available to tenants, if requested.