We’re the last family on our ghost estate – but we’re going nowhere


Phil Campbell, 71, is their only neighbour left and said he is going nowhere

They are the last residents standing with rats, drug dealers and the odd squatter as their only neighbours.

Demolished houses surround them with dirty mattresses, abandoned settees and rubble 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.

Just two houses remain intact with families refusing to budge in a row with developers Torus.

Nearby empty houses have been torched by gangs of kids 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 lighting no longer works.

He said: ‘I’m heartbroken over what’s happened to our neighbourhood.’

Demolished homes are surrounded by rubble on a ghost estate in St Helens where just one family and their neighbour remains

Boarded-up homes with gardens strewn with rubbish are abandoned on a doomed estate in St Helens, Merseyside

A JCB begins demolishing homes on the estate in St Helens where just three residents remain

Abu Jaigardar, 83, and his wife Noor, 66, refuse to leave their four-bedroom family home on the estate after developer Torus offered them £110,000 to knock it down

‘It looks disgusting and we’ve had loads of rats take over the empty houses.

‘You can hear them scuttling around in our roof and we see them all the time.

‘I’m scared to leave the house at night as it’s so dark outside.

‘We have 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 upped 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 it us.’

His grandson Saif Rahman, 29, said: ‘It’s had a terrible effect on his health.

‘He’s had a nervous breakdown over this.

‘We fear Torus are just waiting for people to die off rather than just doing the decent thing.

‘I don’t know why they won’t pay up. People from Torus came round the other day and said they were halting the demolition as they can’t knock down the housing in my grandparents block.

‘It will cost them a lot of money if they can’t finish the development.

‘My grandfather cried when one of our neighbours died recently and saw the builders tear his house down.

‘It’s disgusting when you see the state of the neighbourhood with rubbish 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 it’s all gone. It’s heartbreaking.’

An aerial view of the homes shows work is underway to demolish them with gardens full of rubbish and rubble

Sofas and rubbish are dumped in the front gardens of the houses on the abandoned estate

Mr and Mrs Jaigardar’s only neighbour Phil Campbell, 71, (pictured) refuses to leave his property after turning down Torus’ offer for his house near St Helens town centre

The doomed houses, with boarded up windows, are covered in rubbish and graffiti is daubed on walls

Mr Campbell says he thinks the demolishing of the estate (pictured) ‘could take years’ and he is refusing to leave his home

The family said they want 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 for like as this is a family home where we all had Christmas together.’

Their only neighbour Phil Campbell, 71, is also refusing to move over Torus’ offer for his house on Union Street which is near the town centre.

The retired IT worker said: ‘It’s a very difficult position to be in.

‘It’s affecting my emotional and mental state.

‘I simply do not 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 house for almost 20 years after relocating from Cornwall.

He said: ‘This was supposed to be a retirement property for me.

‘But I did not expect to be spending my retirement years in the position that I’m in.

Empty properties on the estate have been targeted by vandals since residents moved out

A road is fenced off by developer Torus as houses are prepared to be demolished

A filthy mattress and rubbish is left dumped on the street of the ghost estate in St Helens

An aerial shot shows the rubble of an almost a whole street on the estate in St Helens

‘I have been in a constant state of agitation and worry thanks to Torus for at least the last three years.

‘You see the state of the gardens and houses around us.

‘It’s terrible a real mess. This is not somewhere where anyone would want to live in.

‘It’s is three years since a Torus representative knocked on my door and said: ‘What would you like about us buying your property’.

‘I am 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 upped to £110,000 but Mr Campbell refused it.

Speaking outside his three-bed terraced home, Mr Campbell added: ‘There is no way anyone else would buy this house now.

‘It’s a big guy against the little guys.

‘For the past three years, I have been living in a tip.

‘It is vermin infested but I am stuck here.

‘The demolition is going to take years. I just want some peace and quiet and for this to be sorted.’

Torus Developments’ managing director Chris Bowen said: ‘As a housing developer, our focus has and always will be building great, affordable homes and that is what we will continue to do at Union Street.

‘Following clearing the site, we will collaborate with residents and the local community to create plans for an affordable housing scheme that will positively contribute to the areas future.’

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