Residents devastated as 'out-dated' Wolverhampton prefabs to be demolished and replaced

Residents of a tight-knit community have been left heartbroken by the news their prefab homes are to be demolished and replaced.

Darren and Susan Harper who don't want to move
Darren and Susan Harper who don't want to move

The multi-million-pound programme by Wolverhampton Council aims to replace its outdated housing stock, with work set to get under way in the coming months.

Ninety-three prefabs, which date back to 1946, will be knocked down and replaced with “modern, affordable and energy efficient” bungalows on the Lincoln Green estate in the Northwood Park area of Bushbury.

Aerial pic showing the area where the prefabs are to be demolished

All residents affected will be offered the opportunity to remain on the estate and move into one of the newly-built properties as the scheme is carried out in phases.

But those living in them don’t see the buildings as outdated, with many very happy with their living conditions and devastated by the news. Gerald and Agnes Wellsbury are among those who have been left distressed by the plans.

The prefabs, which date back to 1946

Agnes said: “The plans for the new ones just look tiny, but there is nothing we can do is there? If they have to come down, they have to come down. The bungalows are going to be smaller and and gardens are going to be smaller by the looks of the plans. I don’t think this needs to happen, ours is lovely and warm, there’s no heating problems at all, we barely ever have it on.

“Everybody thinks they are tiny, but they really aren’t, they are lovely and comfortable.”

Gerald and Agnes Wellsbury

John, 79, and his son, David Williams, 51, have lived in their prefab for 15 years and do not want to leave. David said: “We don’t find any issues with the heating. All we really need is a new roof, then ours would be perfect. We have loved it here, it is a lovely and quiet area. If I could buy it to stop it all I would, so we can stay where we are.”

David Williams and dad John, who are against the plan

Susan, 52, and Darren Harper, have lived in theirs for 10 years, and have worked over that time to set it up in a way which suits them. Darren has had his mobility significantly reduced after suffering from multiple sclerosis and now mainly gets around in his wheelchair.

Susan said: “We bid on this property for over fours years and eventually independent living got involved and got us in here.

“We had to do all the decorating and stuff like that ourselves, but bit by bit we have built it up.

“We really don’t want to go, we thought we would live here forever. We have put so much hard work into this place. Yes it is rented, but this is our home, to us it is absolute devastating.”

All residents affected will be offered the opportunity to remain on the estate and move into one of the newly-built properties as the scheme is carried out in phases.

Steve North from Wolverhampton Homes talks to residents about the proposals

Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: “Despite previous refurbishment works, some homes remain difficult to heat, are not energy efficient and continue to be difficult to maintain.

“With the current rising cost of energy, it is important we also improve the energy efficiency of any poorly performing council-owned housing. We understand change like this may cause concern for some of our residents but I would like to reassure them that their health and wellbeing will remain our top priority. We will ensure their housing needs are met in line with the council’s allocations policy.”

The programme is being managed on behalf of the council by Wolverhampton Homes, with representatives holding consultations allowing residents to ask questions and raise any concerns.

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