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Girnhill Lane Archived News 1

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yetion1
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« on: March 27, 2008, 09:18:12 pm »

The Girnhill estate has become an in-humane hell created by WMDC. The story goes back 10 years when houses were first started being boarded up after tenants left. It has taken many years of hard work by WMDC to create “HELL”.
The residents live in daily fear of a lack of police and an increase in vandalism that includes arson of homes and verbal abuse. The trend is so bad that houses are now burnt by yobs so that they can go back over the coming weeks to strip the metals from the buildings.
Polatics is a big issue here as one party instigated the demise and stopped another trying to offer a fair deal.
The residents left now have another enemy, a man called Bob. This man has been employed by WMDC to talk to individual residents and try and con them out of their homes. What he does is offer an under market price for homes with a threat of CPO (compulsory purchase order). For example a home worth £170k that could be demolished and 3 £125k homes built if being valued at between £60 and £70k. You can not buy a home for this in Featherstone. The help WMDC offer is a PACKAGE (bag of crap). They will take an equity stake for your home that will be repaid when you move. This is capped. So to accept and move out you have an equity stake and a debt to pay. Pretty crap when you have worked all your life and paid your mortgage off with a view to seeing your last days being in comfort.

The story continues, this was my friends home;







18th feb News on the Girnhill front. A lot of activity of late in the form of picture taking, clip board people walking around. Rumours of CPO's being issued in the near future. Anyone else got any news?

18th feb Does anyone know if their is any truth in what people are saying.... That verner street is to be demolished as well as the pit houses?

18th feb Havn't heard about that one before.

18th feb That's what I have been told by 2 council workers, that is why council tennants are finding it difficult to get any repairs done !!!

19th feb According to the WDH website Verner street is on the improvement schedule for 2010  http://www.wdh.co.uk/living/improvements/area3/Pages/default.aspx

23rd feb Well it looks as if someone else is leaving the estate today or should I say been driven off the estate by the council. I know another 3 are considering it, I just hope they get a fair deal  

23rd feb Was talking to someone the other day who are thinking about leaving, he's not in the best of health anymore, and i think he's lost the will to fight, its these people who are the most vulnerable,WMDC should hang their heads in shame, they're no better than the dictatorships in some of the third world countries, completely bloody heartless

23rd feb what would be the logic in knocking down Verner Street. The house are approx 30 years old, I just can't see anybody knocking these houses down.  I have been informed by someone that they are up for re-wiring and new windows.

were would it stop? Priory Rd houses are older, Huntwick estate is older, I don't think they will be demolished.

23rd feb i hope they dont knock anymore house down that means more rehousing and that means my daughter has no chance of getitng a house. shes married with a 9 month old living with her hubby and his mum in a 2 bed house

23rd feb As I’ve said before on the old forum I don’t know how Bob Hall and Janet Howley can do a job which involves stealing peoples homes and wrecking their lives, I know I couldn’t do it. As far as I’m aware neither John Trickett or Featherstone labour councillor Maureen King has done anything to help the residents unless anyone knows otherwise ??  

23rd feb i love all your pasion. now its time to help.
many people will be aware of a lot more than is at the moment posted and i for one am grudged that the original post was wiped. that has to be left behind. the following is what i have salvaged. i hope from here on we all can add on. there are developements that i will add after. my reason is another plot has brought a grteat situation to be in.

23rd feb Does anyone know how many houses were built on the estate in the begining?
cos the council say there is room to  build 250 there .

174 houses according to an old ordinance survey map  


only one point i can add. labour and WMDC ignore our voices at there peril. mine alone and probably others will ram this up them for years to come until our dying breath. i would not like to one of them walking down our streets!!!

There’s one thing for certain, the people who applied for CPO and their henchmen will be nowhere near the estate when things really kick off. I for one will be there along with many others, it makes you wonder how the councils puppets can do a job which involves evicting pensioners I know I couldn’t do it but then again there’s no one pulling my strings. I suppose one consolation is that Featherstone has an independent council because if they had a labour one the residents would have no chance of a satisfactory solution

23rd feb Estate history- back in 2000 the council owned 52 houses, a private landlord (chestram property) owned 78 and 48 were owned by owner occupiers. The council began a policy of not re letting any houses which became vacant despite people wanting to rent them, this was the reason and the start of the decline of the estate, the empty shuttered up houses attracted anti social behaviour and arson attacks.
 Back in 2002 a resident spoke to councillor Graham Isherwood about the councils plans and he replied “all the estate wants flattening”. Obviously the empty arson attacked houses had a detrimental effect on the other houses in financial terms and making the estate undesirable for new chestram tenants. Chestram talked to the council for at least a year about buying the empty council houses to redevelop but the council weren’t interested so chestram stopped doing maintenance on their properties and their tenants started leaving, the tenants were given a grant to move into rented council homes off of the estate. The estate also received part of a 5 million pound government grant, where did that money go ??.
 In 2003 chestram sold their homes to Leeds London ltd who started having talks with the council regarding re development. The owner occupiers had an individual meeting at wmdc housing offices and were told their homes were going to be modernised with new boundary walls, roofs etc. On 19th June 2003 the resident received a letter from the council saying “We want to assure you NO ONE WILL BE WORSE OFF by any proposals that come forward” this letter was signed by David Jennison and Janet Howley.
 In July 2003 all the empty houses had their door and window screening removed, these were on hire to the council and paid for by tax payers. A new type of screening was then fitted (more money wasted) that were not supposed to be able to be removed once fitted but the vandals seemed to get in a lot quicker than before. The first lot of demolition started on vacant properties
 In February 2004 a report to the cabinet was produced to endorse the use of compulsory purchase if needed. Janet Howley sent a letter saying “we WOULD NOT use these compulsory purchase powers on individual owner occupiers”. The council also started buying the owner occupied homes (tax payers money), the home owners sold their homes for a pittance because they were fed up in living on the declining estate
 In 2005 Leeds London and Featherstone independent councillors struck a deal with Taylor Woodrow (developer) who agreed to build and pay for a new house for the owner occupiers (like for like), the council were furious about this and quickly pulled the plug by threatening to compulsory purchase all Leeds London properties. Wmdc (Ann Pittard) sent another letter to the owner occupiers saying “we have NO intention of using cpo powers on individual owners”. A wmdc consultation with the home owners took place, 39% of residents opted to stay in their own home, 11% opted for new for old (like for like), and 19% opted to move into a refurbished house.
 2006 the council bought Leeds London’s houses
 2007 council offered some options, option 1- valuation of property (based on the value of a house in a slum area, not market value, as low as £30,000) plus a grant of £15,000 and a loan of £35,000. Option 2 - all of option 1 and BUY a new house on the estate. Option 3 - all of option 1 plus buy a percentage of a new house and pay rent and have a chance to buy a bigger percentage later. Option 4 - all of option 1 but buy a fixed percentage of a new home and no opportunity to buy a bigger %. Option 5 - valuation of your home plus 10% and rent a house on the estate. Many letters were then sent by Janet Howley trying to tempt residents into option 1, did you forget the “no one will be worse off” bit Janet ??. November 2007 letter was Janet Howley’s fictional reasons why the council couldn’t offer like for like (unlike the independents) and seemed to care more about how the developers profit would be affected than the residents loss of a home
 2008 letter from J Howley, A number of developers have been short listed to redevelop the estate and will be appointed within 4 months, the remaining properties on the estate WILL BE compulsory purchased but the council will offer advise and support. The letter then tries to push option 1 again and says this option can be withdrawn at any time (scare tactics)

24 feb
23rd feb I feel this may be the longest post on this forum  anyway here goes

1. SUBJECT: GIRNHILL LANE ESTATE REGENERATION - PROPOSALS
FOR A COMPULSORY PURCHASE ORDER
2. PURPOSE OF REPORT
2.1 To update Cabinet Members on the current situation at Girnhill Lane Estate,
Featherstone. There is a confidential financial report that Members need to
consider alongside this report detailing the corporate financial implications
of proceeding with the recommendations.
2.2
To seek the authority from Cabinet Members to make a Compulsory
Purchase Order (CPO). The report describes why this is required and
details:
• The preferred option for the area
• How the proposals contribute to the economic, social and
environmental well being of the area; and
• Plans for delivering the project.
Agenda Page 13 Agenda Item No 7
3. RECOMMENDATION (S)
3.1 Resolve to make a Compulsory Purchase Order under section 226 (1) (a) of
the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to acquire all interests in the land
described in Section 5 of this report and shown edged in red on the plan in
Appendix 1.
3.2 Authorise the Service Director (Legal and Democratic Services) to make a
CPO order and submit to the Secretary of State for confirmation.
3.3 Authorise the Service Director (Housing and Public Protection) to continue
negotiations with affected owners, where possible, to acquire all relevant
properties within the Girnhill Estate (Shown by the boundary on Appendix
1).
4. REASON FOR RECOMMENDATION (S)
4.1 To enable the Council to proceed with a programme of regeneration and
redevelopment that meets the immediate and future needs of the Girnhill
Lane Estate and the neighbouring communities in Featherstone.
5. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
5.1 The Girnhill Lane Estate was built by the National Coal Board (NCB) in the
late 1940s to house miners and their families who worked in the local
collieries. The properties consist of semi detached and blocks of 4
properties and are constructed from pre-cast reinforced concrete (PRCs).
5.2 The properties were designated defective under the Housing Defects Act
1984, as they are not traditionally built and have inherent defects, which
cannot be remedied without totally rebuilding the house. Some owneroccupiers
took advantage of grant aid during the 1980s to rebuild their
homes using the available Reinstatement Grant.
5.3 Of the original 174 properties, only 41 remain occupied (35 owned and 6
tenanted). Residents are suffering from very poor housing and
environmental conditions and low house prices compared to adjacent
streets. Anti-social behaviour, arson, fly tipping, drug misuse and vandalism
are now common occurrences on the estate and present a real health and
safety risk to the remaining residents. Both the Police and Fire Services
have expressed significant concerns for the health and safety of remaining
residents, as well as highlighting the costs to themselves for the additional
resources that management of the conditions has required. Their view is
that the only long term solution for the Estate is the speedy demolition of
the remaining properties.
Agenda Page 14
5.4 Housing on the estate has suffered from increasing deterioration of both
internal and external fabric and increased levels of abandonment over the
past decade. Following the collapse of the traditional industries in the area,
the demand for stock has fallen resulting in increasing vacant dwellings and
property values falling. Although house prices in the area have risen in
recent years they still lag behind prices for the rest of the district.
5.5 On the 23 March 2007 the Council was able to purchase a further 72
houses with funding secured through English Partnerships. Without this
funding, the project would have undoubtedly stalled, and the acquisition of
these properties was seen as critical to progressing the regeneration
process.
5.6 This leaves the current tenureship details as follows:
Council owned properties 139 (133 properties are
empty, 6 are tenanted and 76
have been demolished)
Owner-occupied properties 35
5.7 In addition to the above mentioned residential properties, the draft CPO
Schedule includes a service sub-station, annexed garages and any other
interests owned by the Council. It is possible that there may be further
interests which are currently unknown. Cabinet should note that there is an
area of land adjacent to 64 Girnhill Street that currently remains in the
ownership of the Coal Board. This will be included in the CPO along with
any way leaves, ground leases and leasehold titles where the Council
already owns the freehold estate
5.8 The Council has worked with HOME Housing Association to take on the
management responsibility for the 4 tenanted properties acquired from the
previous landlord. The detailed arrangements are contained within a formal
Management Agreement. This is for an initial period of 3 years. In addition,
2 former Wakefield Council tenancies remain, as they were not subject to
the stock transfer to Wakefield and District Housing (WDH). The
management of these tenancies is being undertaken through WDH. All
tenants have been consulted on the proposed regeneration and are
supportive of the process.
5.9 In accordance with good practice the Council will continue to negotiate with
the remaining owners and offer a package of relocation assistance (subject
to available funding) to enable them to move off the estate.
Agenda Page 15
THE NEED FOR INTERVENTION BY CPO
5.10 Even though negotiations are still ongoing with the remaining owners it is
considered unlikely that the remaining properties and land will be acquired
by agreement and indeed some owners have intimated that they are waiting
for CPO action to legally clarify the situation. A CPO will therefore be
necessary to assemble the site so that a comprehensive regeneration
programme on the Estate can be realised.
5.11 The Council is the Local Authority for the area in which the Order Land is
situated. The CPO will be made pursuant to Section 226(1)(a) of the Town
and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by section 99 of the Planning
and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Council has the power to acquire
compulsorily the Order Land if it thinks that the acquisition will facilitate the
carrying out of development, re-development or improvement on the Order
Land, in this case “the Scheme”, and it also thinks that the Scheme is likely
to contribute to the achievement of the promotion of the improvement of the
economic, social and environmental well-being of the area. It is considered
that there is a compelling case in the public interest for the CPO.
5.12 Furthermore, Central Government guidance makes clear that a local
authority should only use its compulsory purchase powers if it is satisfied
that there is a compelling case in the public interest. In considering this
issue, the Council must be mindful of the interference that the CPO will
have on the human rights of the affected parties and it must seek to ensure
that any such interference is the result of a necessary and proportionate
measure.
5.13 This project forms part of the wider regeneration for the Featherstone area,
and links into the overall Master plan. The redevelopment of the Girnhill
Estate is seen as pivotal to “kick-starting” the long term recommendations
for the town centre and thus there is a real need to ensure that the
replacement housing meets a wider range of housing need than is currently
offered.
5.14 SOCIAL WELL BEING
Demolition of the estate will deal with the clearance of defective housing
and stem the problem of abandonment and the subsequent problems of
crime and anti-social behaviour associated with empty properties. This
along with the redevelopment of the estate with modern properties with
protected open spaces will create a safer neighbourhood and will reduce
crime and fear of crime and anti social behaviour. The outcome will be a
more attractive environment, offering a better variety of housing. This will
Agenda Page 16
help to increase residents’ commitment to the area and its well being. The
redevelopment aims to introduce new properties that meet a very high
standard of design and energy efficiency, bringing added benefits to its
residents.
5.15 ECONOMIC WELL BEING
The scheme will improve the economic prospects of Featherstone by
removing an area of dereliction close to the town centre. The new housing
will help to create confidence in the housing market in and around
Featherstone, and help to ensure that homes in the local area appreciate in
value, providing local residents with worthwhile assets. It is envisaged that
the investment in new and improved housing will prevent a further loss of
population from the area, contributing to the viability of local shops and
amenities. It has been recognised through ongoing Masterplanning for
Featherstone that a failure to redress the issues within the Girnhill Estate
poses a real threat to the rest of the settlement. Moreover, regeneration of
the Estate will act as a catalyst for assisting the regeneration of the town
centre.
5.16 To ensure the realisation of the type of high quality, comprehensive and
sustainable development required for the estate, the whole identified area
will need to be redeveloped. There are 28 reinstated properties that remain
on the estate (the position of the remaining properties and those that are
reinstated are highlighted at appendix 2). To allow the comprehensive
redevelopment and assembly of the site these must be included within the
CPO Order for the following reasons:
1. The reinstated properties are spread across the estate and excluding
them from the CPO would effectively not permit the wholesale
redevelopment of the estate.
2. The proposal for the redevelopment includes for the existing road
layout to be redesigned, leaving the reinstated properties would not
allow for this.
3. Indicative costings in 2005 were obtained for the refurbishment of the
adjoining empty properties. This was in excess of £90,000 and on
this basis it would be uneconomical to pursue this option. Moreover,
following community feedback indicated that the community would
prefer a wholesale redevelopment option, this was not pursued.
5.17 ENVIRONMENTAL WELL BEING
The redevelopment and regeneration scheme will greatly improve the
quality of the environment in the estate by removing poorly maintained and
vandalised buildings and providing new homes in an improved environment.
Agenda Page 17
Redevelopment will also bring added benefits to newer housing that is
located nearby, which has also been affected by issues on the Estate.
6. OPTIONS APPRAISAL
6.1 It is the Council’s view that in order to deliver a successful programme of
regeneration on the Girnhill Lane Estate, Featherstone then it is essential
that all the freehold interests are acquired. The Council is therefore faced
with 2 options.
6.2 Option 1 – Compulsory Purchase Order
Acquire all the freehold interests through the use of a Compulsory Purchase
Order under the powers conferred by the Town and Country Planning Act
1990, Section 226 (1)(a) in respect of the land/properties.
6.3 Option 2 – Do Nothing
Cabinet gave prior approval to negotiate the purchase of the properties on
the estate for demolition and redevelopment in February 2004. To continue
this process and ensure that it is not prolonged any longer than necessary it
is essential that a CPO be pursued. Active strategies to manage conditions
on the Estate are not proving to be wholly effective.
6.4 Redevelopment Vision
The proposed redevelopment of the Girnhill Lane Estate is driven by a
number of strategic objectives both at a local and national level. The
Preferred Developer will contribute to neighbourhood sustainability and
regeneration of the area and deliver a high standard, well-designed
residential development, as detailed within the Design Brief.
6.5 Quality will be an important aspect of the scheme, achieving a high ‘building
for life’ score, secure by design accreditation and meeting ‘Life Time Home’
standards, through Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) or other
methods.
Agenda Page 18
6.6 A priority for the redevelopment scheme will be an appropriate mix of
housing types for sale, to maintain a sustainable community. The
introduction of affordable housing will directly contribute to meeting local
housing need, and also support the direction outlined within the Housing
Green Paper 2007. In addition, the Council is committed to protecting the
environment by cutting carbon emissions, and investigating the use of
renewable energy sources. In addition, the developer will be required to
achieve a minimum of level 3 on the Code for Sustainable Homes, and
where possible achieve level 4.
7. STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS
7.1 The proposals support the key priorities of the Draft Regional Spatial
Strategy and subsequent Panel Report, the Council’s Community Strategy,
Housing Strategy, Economic Regeneration Strategy and the LDF Core
Strategy Preferred Options Report. The proposals are also in line with
current Unitary Development Plan Housing Policies. It is proposed that the
site will also be included referenced within the Site Specific Development
Planning Document.
7.2 The proposals will make Girnhill the Estate of choice to live and invest in
and will provide the neighbourhood with a range of quality property types of
varying sizes with the added benefits of improved security and energy
efficiency features, off road parking and disabled access.
7.3 There is expected to be an increase in the level of owner occupation across
the neighbourhood and an increase in actual occupation removing the
impact of empty properties.
7.4 The redevelopment will have a positive impact on house prices increasing
resident equity bringing forward private gardens and parking for residential
properties, an enhanced security conscious public realm through the
provision of improved linkage with adjacent neighbourhoods with traffic
calming measures.
HUMAN RIGHTS
The Right to a Home.
7.5 It is acknowledged that the making of a compulsory purchase order will
amount to an interference with Article 8 of the European Convention of
Human Rights (ECHR) (which provides that every person is entitled to
respect for his home and private life). However, that interference will be
justified if the action is proportionate and in accordance with the law.
Agenda Page 19
7.6 Relocation arrangements, subject to available resources, will ensure that
the owner-occupiers have access to more than the legal minimum
compensation. This will in turn provide owner-occupiers with the
opportunity to remain in owner-occupation.
7.7 Tenants residing on the estate will also have access to suitable alternative
accommodation.
The Right to a property
7.8 It is acknowledged that the compulsory acquisition of the Girnhill Estate will
amount to an interference with Article 1 of the First Protocol (which provides
that every natural or legal person is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of his
possessions). However, that interference will be justified if it is in
accordance with the law.
7.9 All property owners will have the opportunity to move into a new home on
the proposed development with a package of support from the Council,
subject to available funding. This support will allow owners to access a
property with a minimal financial burden. In addition, the Council will
ensure that professional advice is made available to all affected residents.
8. ENGAGEMENT
8.1 Extensive consultation has been undertaken with residents to identify local
wishes. A Steering Group which includes residents, Elected Members and
Officers has been reconvened to steer the project through the next stages.
8.2 Engagement with the wider community has also been undertaken to identify
concerns and to provide more detailed information about the proposed
regeneration for the Estate, its links to nearby residents and aspirations in
respect of housing and public open space.
8.3 The Council will work with a Registered Social Landlord to allow all the
remaining tenants to move into appropriate accommodation either on the
new development or in the neighbouring areas. The tenants have been
consulted and advised on the options that are available to them.
8.4 The local community will be involved in the next stage of the project which
will look to appoint a developer partner to identify regeneration proposals
for the Estate.
Agenda Page 20
9. CORPORATE IMPLICATIONS
9.1 The financial implications of making a CPO are set out in a separate report.
9.2 In light of the major regeneration benefits that will accrue from the
comprehensive redevelopment of the site, it is considered that the proposed
compulsory acquisition of these properties in the area is a necessary and
proportionate measure in the public interest.
9.3 The making of a CPO would be in the public interest because:
• Without the clearance and redevelopment of the Girnhill Estate, the
area will continue to decline creating an isolated area blighted by
poor living conditions, high levels of crime and high levels of poverty.
• The local community recognises the need to regenerate the Estate.
• Those residents who remain in the area and new residents will
benefit from a safer, cleaner, more energy efficient house and a well
planned, well maintained environment.
• An increase in the number of economically active households in the
area will generate benefits for local businesses.
• Local Authority tenants will be offered assistance with re-housing into
suitable accommodation.
Service Director: Ann Pittard, Service Director,
Housing and Public Protection
Newton Bar
Leeds Road
Wakefield
WF1 2TX
Telephone No: 01924 306665
Fax No: 01924 305803
E-mail address: apittard@wakefield.gov
Contact Officer: Bob Hall, Programmes and Partnerships Manager
Housing and Public Protection
Newton Bar
Leeds Road
Wakefield
WF1 2TX

below is a letter sent to residents. click on it to enlarge.



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yetion1
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 10:38:39 pm »

24th feb great info,
that is one of the sadest letters i have read. what a rotten set of f****** c****.
i believe it is time for some presure from the rest of us.

1. if anyone can put pen to paper get writing and posting to the press, tv and secretary of state. lets get this monster alive.

2. its time for a list to begin of action members. this will be a list of names and phone numbers that can be called on at short notice to protest, make up numbers and possibly later stand in front of a digger. if called and you cannot help at the time there will be no offence. i am happy to hold this list so is Rube. if you email either of us with details they will be kept private and destroyed at the end. i have a licence from the home office to do this.

any other ideas please bring them alive now.

24th feb Not sure about that at the moment Yetion1, I have been having a re-think and speaking to some people who are in the know.  Some of the residents up their have had some good offers.  So I may have to do a bit more research before I fully commit.  It seems to be getting very political and some of the labour parish councilors are good friends.  A may have to give it a rain check, sorry for the inconveince, but I totally agree with your personal commitment and wish you the best of look.

I also have to be aware in protesting, it could go against me at work.  I work in the local community and it may not look good.

24th feb i admire your honesty Rube. i to have some labour friends not that i will ever tell, they are not all bad, but get tarnished from the few.
the offers from Mr Itchy (bob) are still for the building not the land with an extra debt on top.
anyway it would be wise to look into whats happening this week.

i am happy to carry on alone and take any blame. my suggestion was to create a reserve of help for the residents who ask for it. nothing else. i have no problem standing next to labour infront of the diggers.

again thanks rube. conversation can be had between parties in fev. we just did it.

24th feb I will follow your posts with interest, if I feel there as been wrong doing to residents then I may see what help I can give or get involved with.  I just don't want to get involved politically, but like I have said before the residents are who I feel for.  If they get a crappy deal then it is wrong, totally.  But I have been informed that the last people still there have had some realistic offers. This is what I have been told.  There are many different contrdicting messages flying backwards and forwards and who don't know who to believe.  I feel I must be loyal to people who have been ok with me. 

24th feb I would prefer to wait a couple of weeks and find out if the residents have received any fair deals. If after that I feel they are still ripping people off then I will gladly protest, Bob, Janet, and Ann its really up to you, be remembered for doing the right thing not the wrong thing, elderly people and the other taxpaying residents deserve better than this, one day you will have to justify your actions and I’m sure stealing is one of the ten commandments 

24th feb end of day theres gonna be no winners in this situation only hurt so not matter how much protesting goes on theres gonna be losers and hand on heart it think its gonna be the residents .i do feel an back them all the way but everyones goin on about fev not been improved is that not whats happening brand new houses and better living i myself would welcome one of these houses after living here 8 years x

24th feb I’m sure everyone will agree something needs doing with the estate but the fight is to stop the council from stealing peoples homes by offering a pittance for them and selling the land to make a fortune from it. All the residents want is like for like property or a true market value so they can move off the estate. Were talking about peoples homes here, some have lived on the estate for over 50 years and if Peter box can spend over 4 million on a bridge in Cas that’s not needed then I’m sure they should not make money from land and properties stolen from Fev

24th feb oh i totaly agree with you ppl shouldnt be forced to take a pittence no but i wouldnt want to live in the middle of that estate right now i lived there over 3 years i moved just b4 everyone was offered money to move

24th feb The fight is to get the remaining homeowners a fair financial deal not to stop the estate from been redeveloped, the council will make more than enough profit out of the land to pay the residents what their homes are worth

24th feb the money isnt there i dont think ,there spending 15.000 on each house for these ravamps thats were the moneys goin

24th feb Which revamps ?

24th feb Very valid point and the whole point of the argument. Don't care about politics of it just that people get a fair deal for what is their property.

24th feb well ya cant really miss whats been goin on for months the council ravamps windows doors kitchens bathrooms toilets c/h re-wireing

24th feb WDH are doing them, its WMDC who are compulsory purchasing the Girnhill estate

24th feb ??- But I have been informed that the last people still there have had some realistic offers.

??- The fight is to get the remaining homeowners a fair financial deal not to stop the estate from been redeveloped, the council will make more than enough profit out of the land to pay the residents what their homes are worth

??- Very valid point and the whole point of the argument. Don't care about politics of it just that people get a fair deal for what is their property.

good points by all.

to ?? im sorry man but what ever labour person you talked to, try tricket. he is crapping himself enough to turn up in fev and be shocked at the dislike of him enough to turn tables. i may sound like an activist but  i can assure you the last situation is getting nearer and our gobs are working.

to ?? and admin you are as ever correct, but will the battle stop there. in the words of a WMDC person last week "let the people on verner rot. they have had there chances. we are going to buldose the lot". that is why their improvements are a long way off. so yes, there is truth in verner being next. and people wonder why i come out with comments like"its a labour thing". when they treat our people like animals.

24th feb well ime guessing there gonna move verner lot into the new houses when there finnished because theres no houses for ppl now so were they gonna put them

24th feb do they care? dont think so.

24th feb they wanna rehouse the ppl who need it right now b4 they start knocking more estates down , theres ppl living in properties alone or not living in a property there sposed to be in ...if they move these ppl into flats there could be plenty of houses to go round ...i know its off subject but its close to my heart

24th feb CPO's have always been common practise in the UK for the last 100 years. Without CPO's we wouldn't have new hospitals, motorways, industry and so forth. Someone always needs land for development that belongs to someone else. That is not the issue, the issue is whether the people on the end of a CPO are being dealt with correctly. When land was CPO'd for the construction of the M62 motorway for example, people who had property and land in the way of the route were given the market value for both land and property at the time. Same with power stations, hospitals, industrial estates and so forth.
If someone decided to CPO my house tomorrow I would hope that I would be compensated to the full market value of my house aswell as costs incured to me to move elsewhere i.e removal vans, new carpets and cost of decor to the same standard I have now. After all the CPO would not be my idea.
I would want to be relocated in the same town as I was CPO'd from therefore if there are no houses available at the market value of my house then whoever CPO'd me should provide me with one.
I'd want the same size garden with all the plants replacing, the same amount of privacy, a drive and everything else I have now. If I didn't get those things then I would consider myself ripped off.
I wonder what Lord Oswald would say if someone said we are taking Nostel Priory from you on a CPO and we are giving you half of it's market value, find your own mansion to live? I wonder what would happen if the people of Katrina grove were told the same or one of these new detached housing estates that pop up around these parts?
Equality among men?
What is considered a dive is another mans dream who invested his life and soul into the place. No one at current market value with the cost of moving should be offered no less than £150,000. Thats what it would cost me to do it if I were CPO'd tomorrow. To me an house in the Girnhill lane estate is worth the same as mine because it's a semi with garden and thats what I'd want in return.
What have these people been offered so far max?
We must always remember that this is enforcement not choice and some of these people wanted to live out the rest of their lives in that estate.

25th feb I've just come for a .gov site that tells you how much building land is worth in Yorkshire.
At current rates the land in Girnhill is worth between 2-3 million per hectare. Judging by the size of it I would estimate that there is at least 10 hectares. That is an indication of how much money we are talking about here. Incredible

27th feb Just found another cabinet report, nothing new but I thought Isherwood would be involved, he said years ago “all the estate wants flattening“, looks like he’s getting his wish

www.wakefield.gov.uk/MG/mgConvert2PDF.asp?ID=15863

27th feb Two more houses were on fire last night next door to a tenanted house, I bet the occupants were terrified. Did anyone see the bit in this weeks express about the legal action the tenants were taking ?, I like Bob Halls comment at the end “ we are disappointed that the residents are seeking a judicial review in view of the relocation package that has been offered”. I’m sure the residents are disappointed Bob been offered £40,000 for houses worth £130,000 + and having to take out a mortgage 

2nd march ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

1 of those houses was a friends and a big reason for my interest. just had a look around and it brought a tear after seeing his life in ashes.

no more. if i have to go alone i am now in. ive left my contact details. it stops here.

7th march get tonights evening post page 6, its a good write up and pic.

7th march This is the article you are referring to in tonights Evening Post

Featherstone residents fight to save homes

By Tony Gardner

DEFIANT residents put on a show of strength to let council chiefs know that they will not be moved from their homes on a derelict housing estate.
The 28 homeowners on Featherstone's Girnhill Lane estate have now officially dug their heels in by launching a legal battle over Wakefield Council plans to force them out of their properties.
The council has been served legal notice of their intention to seek a judicial review into the council's handling of the estate.
A lawyer for the angry residents says their human rights have been breached after Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) are to be used to get them to leave. Solicitor Naeem Siraj also believes that a proposed regeneration scheme – which will see houses flattened to make way for new homes – is motivated purely for profit. Only a small number of residents have clung on to houses on the former coal board estate. They have been offered £40,000 and £70,000 for their homes and told they will not be given the option of a simple swap for one of the 170 new houses a private developer will build on the estate.
Mr Siraj said: "The people left behind at Girnhill Lane have suffered because of the neglect by a council which has taken positive action to degenerate the estate.
"The local authority has allowed homes on the estate to deliberately deteriorate over many years until it has become a playground for vandals, drug users and arsonists.
"They must have realised the consequences of boarding up properties and allowing them to rot while others on the estate tried to look after their homes."
Placard-waving residents and local councillors yesterday took to the rubble-strewn streets of the estate to mark the start of the legal process. The council have already approved the use of CPOs for the estate ahead of their plans to demolish the entire estate.
Mr Siraj: "The offers being made to residents are grossly unfair in view of the profits that will be made by the council and developers. To issue CPOs to already unhappy people who have had to watch their once close-knit community reduced to a pile of rubble is wrong."
Adrian Cottingham, of Girnhill Lane, said: "This is about the residents saying enough is enough and taking matters into our own hands.This is our home and the way we have been treated by the council is a breach of our human rights."
Bob Hall, programmes and partnerships manager for Wakefield Council said: "We are continuing to work with residents living on the estate to ensure that an outcome is reached whereby they are able to access affordable housing in a safe environment. Whilst there are residents still on the estate we will continue to ensure that vacant properties are secured against unauthorised access and that environmental conditions are managed.
"We are disappointed that residents are seeking a judicial review on the council decision to pursue CPO action in view of the relocation package that has been offered."

9th march There seems to be some confusion about the offer from the council to the residents on Girnhill lane. As a resident on the estate this is what we have been offerd.You can make up your own minds as if its fair or not. (would you except it)
Firstly the council are offering between £40, 000 and £68,000 for are homes.(WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GET A NEW HOME FOR THAT MONEY) Then they are offering £15,000 for the anguish and distress caused by  having to move out of your home (some of the residents have lived in their homes for over 40years). Finaly they are offering you the chance of a " intrest free loan of up to £35,000" .   ONLY THERE IS A CATCH THE £35,000 IS PUT AS A CHARGE ON YOUR NEW PROPERTY. SO IF THE THE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY DOUBLES IN THE FUTURE SO DOES THE AMOUNT YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK.
SO THE OFFER ON THE THE TABLE IS THIS THEY TAKE YOUR HOME AND ALL YOUR LAND  WHICH AT THE MOMENT WE OWN OUT RIGHT AND THEY WILL ALSO OWN A STAKE IN YOUR NEW HOME AS WELL this in my opinion is completly unfair. A lot of the houses on the estate have big plots of land on which you can easily fit 2 or 3 new homes each valued at £150, 000 plus and yet they are only offering a pittence for our homes the council stands to make millions out of this estate, ALL WE WANT IS A HOME FOR A HOME. NOW YOU KNOW THE TRUTH WOULD YOU EXCEPT IT.

10th march The Council have obviously realised that the money on the table wasn't enough to buy anything, so they came up with the £ 35,000 wheeze. This "deposit" is then put as a charge on the new property, and never goes away. Whenever the property is sold, WMDC get their money back.
I wouldn't accept this and can't believe the Council think this is the best solution.
Come on WMDC grow some balls and help the residents, not threaten them.

13th march i think the girnhill residents have a new weapon.
ive had a visit today from a builder/ contractor. he has been around town looking and asking. his yellow brick road ended at my shop. it looks next week the tender is to be agreed for the new housing. he had an idea what had been going on but was shocked to hear the full facts.
his question was what would it take to empty the site. my reply a like for like deal and about £5k moving costs. the weapon i have found is that he is concerned as so will be his competition that the site will not be clear. just 1 house left could cost thousands in lost time. i asked, for the amount of residents left would your company do a deal? yes was the answer. my advice to him was to go to tender with that deal. as far as i can see all 3 sides would win.
no wonder an emergency meeting was called

14th march yes thanks for the info , thats 2 of the 7 builders going to tender on monday that are willing to offer the residents a fair deal. I just hope its a fair contest but with the W.M.D.C you never know. A big thank you to all the people that are supporting us out there

19th march Box + Jefferies blow their tops

Just before you read the rest let me explain about a protest last Monday outside Chesneys. A small group of older people braved the cold for 2 hours holding banners to help others by means of silent peaceful protest outside the grounds.
How could you labour lie about that?

In a full council meeting on Wednesday Box shouted out that councillor Binerslys crony’s, shouted insults to Jeffries, tried to stop her car and damage it by attempting to hit it with a banner.  Margaret Isherwood asked was it the balaclava bunch? Funny how she opens her mouth here but not when I asked for planning not to grid lock the top of station lane with the hippodrome application and she abstained.  Well I was on that front line and I am sure the others will agree it was one of the most chilling 2 hours, only relived in between by cheering the residents. I had a hat on and 3 people had walking sticks? If it wasn’t for our humour and chat you could have took us for scare crows. As I recall the only shouting was from the first 3 residents who came out. Not because they wonted to but because in the first 10 minutes they heard so much bull that if they had not been man enough to leave people WOULD have got a scene. It takes a man to do that. I think if it were me I would fail, and that’s slagging myself off.
So looks like a few of us here are now officially activists. Reminds me of someone I know, so believe me when I say the secret service will be next. Box could say it to my face, instead of attacking a woman. You know where I am box, as do I you. Will you call first?

Then Jeffries had a go. She went on to say that the regeneration of Girnhill was being halted by the independents and their mob. An individual had placed a village green application on the Lister baths area (oh happy days). She was planning on building houses (24 flats) to re-house the remaining Girnhill residents. She had in fact got money to do it but now had to give it back because it could not be used by its deadline. Call me daft but flats are not an option for the Girnhill residents. Surely this is not a case of money being obtained for development in the name of Featherstone’s poor, or is it?  I have asked are there any minutes of the meeting? Yes, but Boxes comments are not noted. Remind me, this is a democracy not a communist sate?
My last point, 5 minutes after Jefferies entered the building 2 WMDC neighbourhood patrollers arrived on scene. They questioned all entering the meeting. Forgive me for thinking this is now officially WMDC private police. If we were thugs why not call the proper police?

20th march I was one of those people on this so called picket line and it was a peaceful demonstration to my knowing and nobody attacked anybody's cars or anything else for that matter.  So if anybody has got to say that we are balacalava wearing thugs can come and tell me and those that were there then i will tell them it was one of the peacefully demonstrations i have been to so there.

21st march Great post, firstly lets look at the facts, How can Margret Isherwood make any comments about Fetherstone when after losing to our district councilors in a election she was then given a safe seat some where else. Even more inportant HER HUSBAND WAS ONE OF THE CABINET MEMBERS THAT VOTED TO COMPULSERY PURCHASE THE RESIDENTS OF GIRNHILL LANE. The next point  this is the first time any one as mentionend any trouble outside the meeting at chesneys, it was a peaceful protest. As for councilor jeffries ,I have been to just about every meeting concerning girnhill lane for the last 5 years and not once as it being mentionend about putting the residents in to flats on lister close, some of the residents are elderly and infirm so this could have never been a option, and if it was thank you for stopping it. As for the  " INDEPENDENTS AND THEIR MOB STOPPING THE REGENERATION OF GIRNHILL LANE" this is another lie the only people stopping the regeneration of girnhill lane are WMDC through their greed and incompitence and their failure to offer a fair deal to the residents. WE NOW HAVE EVIDENCE OF THE BULLY BOY TACTICS THAT WMDC ARE USING TO GET RESIDENTS TO MOVE OFF THE ESTATE (THIS IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF ARE BARRISTER) , THIS WAS MENTIONED TO JEFFRIES AT THE MEETING STRANGE HOW THIS WAS NOT MENTIONEND BY MR BOX AND YET THEY HAVE THE CHEEK TO COMPLAIN ABOUT A PEACEFUL PROTEST. thanks again to all our supporterters who braved terrible conditions and thank you to all our independent councilors for their magnificent support over the last 5 yrs.

20th march who ever says the people thatt were on the protest last monday sais there was trouble there full of them selfs we were up there in a meeting and it was calm  well done all that was there

21st march just a few thoughts on what has been said.

1. bob did not know what was the cap of grant. i bet thats a buggar of a figure and probably why forgoten.
2. bob said there could be options with the developer. why bully people now and instead get the builder on board first so the option can be given? sounds like something Roy found 3 years ago.
3. wmdc are paying for security. you should ask for a plan or contract copy. they are provably being ripped off as per police calls.
4. janet said someone visits the homes each week to make sure they are secure. i have took it upon myself to complain 4 times about Jacks house. after 2 weeks still no boards and an excuse the chimney is unsafe. well bloody sort the frigging chimney because some poor buggar lives next door and it could fall on them. someone will be sorry next week im narked.
5. bob said within a 2 week time scale people went from being told they were staying and get decorating, leading to here is a demolision letter. what a load of bull. some freedom of information letters need requesting from wmdc. i am sure bob will start itching just reading this.
6.  jeferies  the lady sent in to sort out revolts she says she has the message, whatever, heard it, bin there, next. the lady voice did not work. try bringing box or tricket and let them answer the facts. that should be interesting.

23rd march I live on the Girnhill Lane estate and there's more traffic now then there ever was when the estate was full. Rubber Neckers constantly coming to view all the piles of rubble and burnt out houses! They must see it as a day out. I can hear them now,“Ooo let’s go and have a look at the infamous Girnhill Lane estate. They should try living up here and seeing it everyday. I think I'm going to hire an open top bus and have "GIRNHILL LANE ESTATE SIGHT SEEING TOURS" put on the side and charge a quid for a drive round the block! I could make a fortune!

23rd march The more people who see how your all having to live mr t, the more supporters you'll have, don't knock it mate' you've more friends than you think

23rd march Hello Mr T
           I drove around the estate today with two visitors to my house. They have seen and read the story about "the pit houses" as they remember them and asked to see the houses for themselves. They were absolutely disgusted at the conditions the remaining residents are living in and the destruction of the estate. The so called "rubberneckers" as you call them did not see it as a "day out" but as a look at the plight of fellow human beings in a situation of real despair, their words not mine!
          The estate may be "infamous" but is this not a good thing bringing attention to your situation. I am thankful I do not have to live their and see it everyday but still feel for the residents unfair treatment.
          While driving round on "sightseeing tours" with concerned friends what I had in my mind was "This could happen to anyone of us, whether living in Katrina Grove, Station Lane or Ravensmead. It is a wakeup call to us all and while I think your comments were probably meant in a humourous way, nevertheless not everyone will see it that way.

23rd march The eastate is apparently becoming a fashionable catwalk, we are now vandals laballed the balaclava bunch by a certain Town Councillor. Well I will gladly be wearing mine at the next Town Meet on 2nd April at 7 pm, plus it's open to all who wish to attend and you do have a 15 min spot to ask a few questions. Direct them to the right of the room please not the left as my ribs are still sore from laughing at the last puzzlers from Dick and Mr & Mrs, B P (which party are we with now dear)

23rd march  think I have been misunderstood on my last post regarding "Rubberneckers" I was refering to the "minority" that come round just for the sake of coming around and having a look, and not the genuine ones who support us and need to see the estate in order to understand our situation. The number of people that support us is unbelievable, and I will take this opportunity to thank (on everyone's behalf) all those who do support us! It certainly does make the words "Community Spirit" stand out bold. I totally agree with "Technoboye" about it happening to anyone and the really scary thing is, you know without a shadow of a doubt it "WILL" happen again but to whom? The council have "REALLY" opened up peoples eyes this time and they don't care who you are, where you live...if you're preventing them making money and in the way, you are seen as a piece of dog muck on their shoe that really has to go! What I would really like to see if or when the TV cameras call upon us again, is the touching idea from Yetion about forming a "Chain Of Humanity" around the estate! It's not impossible and would be the best way to show the council numerous things at once. 1) How strong the remaining residents are on the estate and refuse to be bulldozed through. 2) How much support we have from the people around us. 3) How strong the community is as a whole and maybe make them think twice before doing it again to someone else. All we'd need is petition style sheets going around with a date and time on (the same date and time the cameras would be coming) and a space to leave your name if you want to show your support and help make the chain up! It would be a sight to see and a moving one at that!

24th march i have been going to the girnhill lane for many years as friends have lived there and now my partner and over the years have seen it decline, and why the council of course, yes they "SAY" they are doing this that and the other put what are they doing. They were supposed to keep garden tidy yeah right some gardens up ther look like they could house a wildlife sanctuary, lions and tigers could live in the grass in some of the gardens its a utter disgrace what they're doing and then there's the hedges on the paths, there's times you cant walk on the path cos there overgrown. So to me the council are all talk and no action, especially when boarding up houses there houses with boards coming off but nothing has been done. I really do feel for u residents and i will give my support all the way to the end.

25th march i have heard that one of the residents were burgled over the weekend,while they were away, made a right mess what they didn't steal they smashed up,i can't understand it,why smash things up is it just spite or what,if it's no good to the thieves why can't they just  leave it alone, these people don't deserve to be treated like this, they are devastated.

25th march i need to know more. any ideas of what house?
any names mentioned for the breakin?

26th march For those of you that missed it or for those of you that want to know what we are still going through 5 years + down the line, click on the link below! This is the story that was on Look North last month about the estate!

WARNING!
JON TRICKETT MAKES AN APPEARANCE

http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7280000/newsid_7281600/7281619.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm&news=1&bbcws=1



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