We’re the last family standing on our ghost estate: We cried when our neighbours’ homes were demolished but we are going NOWHERE
They are the last residents standing with rats, drug dealers and the odd squatter as their only neighbors.
Dilapidated houses surround them with dirty mattresses, abandoned sofas and rubbish taking over their neighbours’ gardens in the crumbling housing estate.
More than 60 houses have been demolished for a new development on the estate in St Helens, Merseyside.
Only two houses remain intact with families refusing to move in a row with developers Torus.
Empty houses in the area have been set on fire by gangs of children or flooded with drug dealers operating at the top of the road.
Grandfather of seven Abu Jaigardar (83) is too scared to go out at night and has had to use car headlights to light his way as the street lights no longer work.
He said: ‘I am saddened by what has happened to our neighbourhood.’
Demolished houses are surrounded by rubble on a haunted estate in St Helens where only one family and their neighbor remain
Orchard houses with gardens littered with rubbish are derelict on a doomed estate in St Helens, Merseyside
A JCB begins demolishing houses on the estate in St Helens where only three residents remain
Abu Jaigardar, 83, and his wife Noor, 66, are refusing to leave their four-bedroom family home on the estate after developer Torus offered them £110,000 to demolish it.
‘It looks disgusting and we’ve had a lot of rats taking over the empty houses.
‘You can hear them scurrying around in our roof and we see them all the time.
‘I’m afraid to leave the house at night because it’s so dark outside.
‘We even had to use lights from a car to light my way.
The retired restaurant owner and his wife Noor (66) have lived in their four-bed family home for 36 years.
Torus offered them £85,000 five years ago and then increased their offer to £110,000.
Mr Jaigardar said: ‘We just want a fair price for our house so we can get somewhere similar, but Torus won’t give us that.’
His grandson Saif Rahman, 29, said: ‘It had a terrible effect on his health.
‘He had a nervous breakdown over this.
‘We fear that Torus is just waiting for people to die rather than just doing the decent thing.
‘I don’t know why they won’t pay. People from Torus came the other day and said they are stopping the demolition because they can’t demolish the housing in my grandparents block.
‘It will cost them a lot of money if they can’t complete the development.
‘My grandfather cried when one of our neighbors died recently and saw the builders demolishing his house.
“It’s disgusting when you see the state of the neighborhood with litter and dirty mattresses everywhere.”
Mr Jaigardar’s wife Noor added: ‘We loved the area with the shops being so close and all our friends here.
‘But now everything is gone. It’s heartbreaking.’
An aerial photo of the houses shows work underway to demolish them with gardens littered with debris and rubbish
Benches and rubbish are dumped in the front gardens of the houses on the abandoned estate
Mr and Mrs Jaigardar’s only neighbor Phil Campbell (71) (pictured) refuses to leave his property after turning down Torus’ offer for his home near St Helens town center
The doomed houses, with shuttered windows, are covered in rubbish and graffiti is smeared on walls
Mr Campbell says he thinks the demolition of the estate (pictured) ‘could take years’ and refuses to leave his home
The family said they wanted at least £150,000 for their home.
Mr Rahman, who is a software worker, added: ‘They just want to be able to get something decent.
“It won’t be like that because it’s a family home where we all had Christmas together.”
Their only neighbor Phil Campbell (71) also refuses to move over Torus’ offer for his house in Union Street, which is close to the town centre.
The retired IT worker said: ‘It’s a very difficult position to be in.
‘It affects my emotional and mental state.
‘I simply don’t know what the future holds for me.
‘I’m a pensioner living in the middle of a demolition site,
“I do feel isolated and quite vulnerable.”
Mr Campbell, who used to work at Liverpool John Moores University, has lived in his home for almost 20 years after moving from Cornwall.
He said: ‘It was supposed to be a retirement property for me.
‘But I didn’t expect to spend my retirement years in the position I’m in.
Empty properties on the estate have been targeted by vandals since residents moved out
A road is being fenced off by developer Torus as houses are readied for demolition
A dirty mattress and rubbish is left dumped in the street of the haunted estate in St Helens
An aerial shot shows the rubble of almost an entire street on the estate in St Helens
‘I’ve been in a constant state of agitation and worry for at least the last three years thanks to Torus.
‘You see the condition of the gardens and houses around us.
‘It’s an awful mess. It is not somewhere anyone would want to live.
‘It’s been three years since a Torus representative knocked on my door and said: ‘How would you like us to buy your property’.
“I’m not asking for an obscene amount of money, just enough to buy a like for like replacement.”
He was initially offered £80,000 and this was increased to £110,000, but Mr. Campbell refused.
Speaking outside his three-bedroom home, Mr Campbell added: ‘There is no way anyone else would buy this house now.
‘It’s a big guy against the little guys.
‘I have been living on a tip for the past three years.
‘It’s vermin infested, but I’m stuck here.
‘The demolition will take years. I just want peace and quiet and for it to be sorted out.’
Torus Developments managing director Chris Bowen said: ‘As a housing developer our focus has and always will be to build great, affordable homes and that is what we will continue to do at Union Street.
‘After the site has been cleared, we will work with residents and the local community to create plans for an affordable housing scheme that will contribute positively to the area’s future.’