Neighbours’ anger over £8,000 demolition deal

Devonshire House residents protesting over the �8,000 payout made by Lovell to one family in the area
Devonshire House residents protesting over the �8,000 payout made by Lovell to one family in the area

Furious residents staged a blockade at the Queen’s Park flats demolition site, after learning that one householder was given an £8,000 pay out by the firm overseeing the project.

People living in the Devonshire House flats at Laycock Gate blocked the entrance to the site demanding to speak to Bruce Lister, the regeneration manager for the company Lovell.

Lesley Froggatt from Addison Crescent

Lesley Froggatt from Addison Crescent

They said the family, which was given the payout so that they would move out of the area for the day so demolition could take place, lived further away from the site than they did and therefore did not have to, like them, put up with trucks going to and fro daily as well as noise, vibration and dust.

They were demanding the same treatment or at least something from the company to improve their quality of life during the work

Families from Addison Crescent, where the family who got the payout live, were also furious with the situation saying that it was not fair that one should get the cash while everyone was inconvenienced by the July 31 demolition and subsequent work.

They also complained about ongoing noise and vibration from the £22m project and added that a clean-up following the actual demolition of the three tower blocks had missed debris and dust in many gardens and gutters in the area.

It is not right that they have got all this money and we have not been offered a penny

The Gazette reported yesterday, {http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/our-region/blackpool/family-offered-8k-for-moving-out-on-flats-demolition-day-1-8094904 |read the article here}, that Lovell made the £8,000 ex-gratia payment to the Addison Crescent resident for “ongoing disturbance” and for agreeing to move out on the day of the demolition. If the family had not moved out on the day it is unclear whether the demolition could have gone ahead.

A letter seen by The Gazette from Bruce Lister, stated: “I would confirm that Lovell is prepared to make an ex-gratia payment to you in recognition of the disturbance you have experienced and more particularly in lieu of your confirmed willingness to vacate your home at Addison Crescent throughout the operation of the temporary demolition

“Specifically it is hereby agreed that Lovell will pay you the sum of £8,000 in two instalments; £4,000 on receipt of receiving your signed acknowledgement and acceptance of the terms set out in this letter, and the balance of £4,000 to be paid immediately after the event.

“The terms set out in this letter are confidential between ourselves and you undertake to us not to disclose any of these terms to any third party.”

William Hunter, from Devonshire House, said: “People are furious. We are right on top of the site, the person who got the money is nowhere near as close to it all as we are.

“It is not right that they have got all this money and we have not been offered a penny.

“We have to put up with the trucks going in and out all day, the noise the dust the racket.

“I spoke to the site manager this morning and told him how appalled we were to hear about this.

“We feel we have been treated badly by Lovell.

“People were saying this morning that they wanted to go out and stop the work until they get some sort of explanation or a good will gesture.”

Margaret Cetinkaya, from Devonshire House, said: “We are not letting any lorries in or out until Lovell speak to us about this.

“It is because of that £8,000 payment. It is not fair for one family to get this.

“We should all have got the same treatment. We want to talk to Bruce Lister.”

Deanna Grundy, from Addison Crescent, said people felt angry that they were having to put up with noise and vibrations from the building site and only one person had been given this money.

She said: “When I got home from work the other day there was constant banging from the digging.

“We have been given no aftercare over this.

“They gave the windows a quick clean on the Monday after the demolition and that was it.

“People have debris and dust everywhere. People’s gutters are blocked.

“It is wrong that one person on this street has got a payout. We have all suffered as much as them and some more. There are disabled people living here who had to evacuate their homes.”

Lesley Froggatt, from Addison Crescent, said: “Most people here have tried to co-operate during the demolition. It is a good thing, it is progress.

“But when we found out someone had got £8,000, it was a kick in the teeth. People feel we have been treated badly by Lovell.

“We were promised the earth before the demolition.

“We were told we would get a structural engineer to come out, noise monitors, vibration monitors and a proper clean up afterwards, but they have not done this.”

Kenneth Lister, from Addison Crescent, said: “My wife is severely disabled and had to be evacuated to a care home for the day. We were not given any help at all. People are furious.

“I think these people should give the money back or otherwise everyone should be given a pay out.”

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The area where twenty-three storey Walter Robinson Court and 16-storey Elizabeth and Churchill Courts stood, will be used for 99 new homes which should be completed by Spring 2018 – the final part of the £22m regeneration project.

A spokesman for Lovell today said: “We are currently breaking up the foundations from the demolished blocks - this is inevitably noisy and we will complete this process as quickly as possible.

“As most of this material is being recycled as hardcore for the new development, there are only limited numbers of vehicles going to and from the site and those vehicle movements are subject to strict operating hours.

“Dust suppression sprays and road sweeping equipment are being used to reduce and clean up dust from the work.

“Where residents are experiencing problems with dust, we would ask them to please get in touch with our site team so that these can be addressed.”