Doomed homes ‘left to decay’

flat roofed houses in Arbourthorne set for demolition.
flat roofed houses in Arbourthorne set for demolition.
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A pensioner whose home is among more than 200 facing the bulldozers has accused Sheffield Council of neglecting his estate.

George Day, a retired engineer, spoke out after the council’s cabinet allocated £1.6 million to fund the demolition of his home and 245 other flat-roofed properties at Arbourthorne Fields.

Mr Day, who owns the house he shares with his wife Diane on Berners Road, believes the council is wrong to say the buildings have structural problems or would be too expensive to repair.

He said: “When the first lot of flat-roofed houses at Arbourthorne were demolished, the contractors had to pull them down by hand, because they are too strongly built.

“As for the council’s excuse of the deterioration, the council is at fault.

“I myself contacted the council leader, Coun Julie Dore, who represents Arbourthorne ward, and asked her to use European Union money to upgrade them. Her answer was to ignore me.”

Mr Day, one of 53 owner-occupiers, said the £48,000 cost quoted by the council to revamp each home to modern standards would not work out any more than demolishing and rebuilding the estate.

He added that the nine years of uncertainty since demolition was first proposed have meant houses have been allowed to decay in the meantime.

Mr Day said: “The figure they quote to do up our homes is £48,000.If one looks at the figures it’s about the same as to rebuild, yet they make it a big deal, saying it will cost a fortune to do them up.”

The council says the houses have asbestos, which causes added complications for refurbishment – and it believes the estate would be better replaced with modern properties.

No funding has been secured to redevelop the area, however, and Coun Harry Harpham, deputy council leader, said the authority is in talks with private firms.

Government funding promised to rebuild the estate was axed in 2011.

Coun Harpham said: “We are really pleased to continue this major regeneration scheme.”