Here are a few of the neighbours from Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close fighting to #SaveOurHomesLS26.
Cindy & John
Cindy works as a teaching assistant in a local school. John is a former miner at Rothwell Colliery and both he and Cindy have lived in the area all of their lives.
Cindy and John have lived in their Wordsworth Drive home for 14 years. Their children have grown up there, and their daughter has recently moved into a house nearby to stay close.
Their biggest worries about the eviction threat are around the physical and mental health impacts of potential homelessness. The stress is taking its toll on the children. Their youngest son has been finding the stress particularly upsetting. And John has mobility problems which will make any move difficult.
Susan is a retired NHS worker who has lived on Sugar Hill Close for 11 years with her son. She has close friends in the adjoining streets and has made roots in the area. When she moved here, Susan thought it would be the last time she would ever have to move.
Susan’s biggest worries about potential eviction and the demolition of her home are around the stress and costs of finding somewhere else to live, as rental rates are unaffordable in the rest of Oulton. The risk of being forced to leave community connections built up over more than a decade is causing serious anxiety and sleeplessness.
Linda is a pensioner who has lived on Wordsworth Drive for 3.5 years.
Linda was forced to leave her last home of many decades after the landlord wished to renovate the property. She sought some housing security and to be closer to friends that were virtually like family, so she moved onto Wordsworth Drive, believing it would be her “forever home”.
Linda suffers from heart problems which are being exacerbated by the stress of uncertainty. Moving once as a pensioner was difficult enough – Linda feels like it is too difficult to have to move again.
Irene has lived on the estate for around 60 years, bringing up family here. She currently lives here with her son who is her main support.
News of the potential demolition of the last part of an estate she has been a part of for many decades has created a lot of anxiety and has worsened already existing health conditions.
Barry & Mavis
Barry is an ex-miner and he and his wife Mavis have lived on the estate in various houses for 48 years. They have seen many families come and go, and many children grow up on these streets. Neighbours have become close friends.
Even though they, like the handful of other protected tenants, have guarantees that they will be rehoused somewhere, Mavis and Barry have been at the forefront of the fight to prevent demolition. They feel that moving at their time in life would be incredibly difficult and would worsen their current health conditions. They also view the situation as desperately unfair, as everyone has been paying a lot of money on rent over the years for houses they have turned into homes.
Eric & Yvonne
Pensioners Eric and Yvonne have lived in the estate over 60 years and have brought up family of 6 children here. As an former mining family, their home was originally supplied by the coal board at a rate of 8 shillings a week (around £9-10.00 today). The best thing about these homes is having a garden for children and grandchildren.
While Eric and Yvonne have protected tenancies and will be entitled to a new home, they are concerned about how the redevelopment will destroy the community. They are also worried about the impact any shift will have on their own health. Yvonne recently had knee surgery and mobility can be difficult.
Mark & Hazell
Hazell and Mark have lived on the estate with their son Max for nearly 13 years. They both work for the NHS – Hazell at Pinderfields Hospital as an office supervisor, Mark at Seacroft Hospital as a driver.
They moved to Wordsworth Drive after a period of housing insecurity, as they lost their previous long-term rented home when the company that owned the property went bust.
Hazell and Mark love their close-knit community and worry about its break up if everyone is forced out. Other rentals in the area are unaffordable, and if they are forced to move further out they risk losing their jobs. The stress and anxiety is causing a heavy strain on their physical and mental health.