More than a hundred residents are set to have their homes demolished and rebuilt after they were deemed to be beyond repair.
Newport City Homes has announced plans to demolish a number of properties in Newport, south Wales, after surveys found numerous problems including deteriorating roofs and exteriors, damp and condensation issues and a lack of fire safety.
In total, 106 flats in Alway, the Gaer and Rogerstone are set to be knocked down and rebuilt, with work set to begin between winter this year and spring 2022, reports Wales Online.
Among the properties earmarked for demolition and rebuilding are:
166 – 212 Aberthaw Road (even numbers only)
2 – 24 Penkin Hill (even numbers only)
7 – 14 Kipling Hill (all properties)
75 – 145 Dickens Drive (odd numbers only)
1-23 Oak Road
Speaking to residents set to be affected by the plans, it’s clear that feelings are mixed.
Doris Lloyd, 81, lives in Alway. She’s lived there with her husband Geraint for 35 years.
“We’ve been here since 1986,” she said. “We had the letter a few weeks ago. They didn’t say they were pulling them down, it was just options.
“I don’t want to move. Where would they put us? They’d have to put you where you want to go, not where they want you to go.”
Doris said she barely leaves the flat she has lived in for so long, and that she didn’t understand the decision given that work had recently taken place on the building.
“I couldn’t understand why they’re putting all the sprinklers in. It must be costing them. About two or three months ago. They’ve done them all in the flats here.
“We’ve been here all these years, we’ve accumulated all this rubbish that they’d have a job clearing this out.”
She added: “We are happy here, we don’t get any problems. We used to with the kids, but they’ve all grown up now. Halloween there used to be eggs thrown at the windows. But not anymore.”
Doris said there were few issues in the flat itself either.
“We’ve been pretty lucky. Now and again the bulbs will go in the bathroom or the kitchen, but they renew them. We don’t do that. But we don’t have no issues.
“Where would they put us while they’re rebuilding it? They’re not dumping me anywhere. What are they going to build? All they can build is more flats or houses.
“There haven’t been renovations here in years and years. They used to come around and paint the outside and all that, but they haven’t.
“You’d need a bulldozer to move my husband. We’ve been here so long now. You’re used to your surroundings.
“I have problems walking up the stairs, but I manage it. There are 16 steps, I get here and sit down and I’m fine.”
Chris Wainwright, 34, lives around the corner on Penkin Hill with his father Anthony and his partner. His father has lived there for around five years, while Chris has been there for three years.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble when it comes to repairs,” he said. “It’s only things like electrics they tend to do straight away, I’ve got my kids every other weekend and asked them to fix stuff because of that, and they’ve done it.
“We’ve had problems with the damp and mould. They say they’ll have someone come out and they will come and do the readings. They say they’ll be in touch and then we just don’t hear from them.
“I think they’ve given up [on these flats] and that’s why they’re knocking them down.”
Over in the Gaer, Karen Morgan, 47, has been living in her flat on Kipling Hill for eight years.
She originally moved here after losing her house in Broadmead in a fire.
“I like it here. My partner only lives over the road. They sent us a booklet about it [the work],” she said.
“I’m glad. You can’t swing a cat in here. I went into temporary accommodation when I lost my house. I think what they’ll do is something like that.”
Karen said she’d suffered with issues such as damp in the kitchen and breakdowns in appliances over the years which she has often had trouble getting fixed.
“I’ve had heating put in it was so cold in here. I’m on my fourth washing machine and I’ve had two cookers since I’ve been here. It’s not good enough.
“I feel neglected. It’s alright for some people, but I’ve got to put up with that. It makes me angry.
“Just knock them down and hurry up about it. It’s long overdue. I’d like to stay here because my partner lives over the road. You can’t get anywhere no better than the Gaer.
“They asked me if I want to stay here, but if they’re going to knock them down we don’t know long it’ll be.”
Rachel George, Head of Regeneration at Newport City Homes, said: “We have worked closely with communities this year to identify what work, if any, we may look to carry out in the future. The options we have considered include continuing with general day-to-day repairs only, carrying out extensive refurbishment or regeneration, through demolishing existing properties and building new homes in their place.
“As part of this work, we have looked at the general condition of homes, including any damp and mould. We have also considered what work may be required to help homes become more energy efficient and reach zero carbon.
“We have worked with residents to understand their views on their homes and the options available. This work has resulted in Newport City Homes looking at the option of regeneration in more detail, in some specific areas.
“This includes homes in Penkin Hill and Aberthaw Road in Alway, Dickens Drive and Kipling Hill in the Gaer, and Oak Road in Rogerstone. By regenerating the 106 existing homes in these areas, we can make sure that these homes are fit for the future and suit the needs of our existing and future residents. We have engaged closely with affected residents to understand their views on this and we’ll continue to keep them updated on our progress.
“Our work remains in the early stages, and no planning applications have been made at this time. We have already started to engage with our residents in Oak Road and we expect to start more detailed engagement with Alway and Gaer residents in spring/summer 2022.
“We understand that residents may be concerned about how this work may affect them. Before any future regeneration activity takes place, we will continue to work closely with local communities to understand any concerns and preferences they may have and do our best to address these wherever we can.”