A blighted patch of land, once an abattoir, then left derelict for ten years after a catalogue of failed housing developments, then used as a depot for the railway electrification, is finally being turned into homes.
Five houses abandoned by Chelford Homes half-built when the firm went into administration, have been a “playground for vandals” and a home for squatters and a source of misery for nearby residents.
In 2016 Blackpool Council was forced to issue a community protection notice calling on the site’s then owner,Housing Ladder,to improve the area.
But now the land off Coopers Way, close to Devonshire Road, North Shore, once known as Warbreck Gardens, is now being transformed into 68 homes designed to help people get on the property ladder.
It is now called Devonshire Gardens and developers Belmont Homes today revealed that 25 new homes have already been reserved at the site.
Belmont Homes only acquired the site in September last year and have worked quickly to bring Phase One of the development to market, whilst ensuring that the development included communal public spaces and parking to create a safe and friendly neighbourhood.
Now neighbours and the area’s MP have praised Belmont for bringing the site to market after former developers failed.
Anne Valance has lived in Coopers Way for ten years and had no idea when she first bought her home that the builder who had already started developing the site had gone into administration. The site has been abandoned since.
She added: “This piece of land has been a bomb site ever since I moved into Coopers Way ten years ago and we have had lots of problems because of this over the years.
“I have always been so anxious that a child would get hurt playing on the site and couldn’t be more relieved now Belmont Homes have transformed it.
“I am extremely grateful to them for not only taking on a problem site, but for developing it with families and the community in mind. It is beautifully landscaped, and I understand that all the open spaces will be maintained for residents.
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said visited the site this week and said: “Congratulations to Belmont Homes for finally transforming this plot of land on Coopers Way.
“Not only have they transformed this site into an attractive development, but they have already delivered 30 affordable homes for the people of Blackpool - and will provide another 38 in the next 12 months.
“Having visited the site myself I am impressed with both the quality of the homes already built and the way the development has been landscaped to create an attractive neighbourhood for residents.
“I know local residents are delighted with the transformation too.”
Belmont Homes’ sales director Wesley Liptrott said neighbours of the new estate had come to the sales office to thank them for tackling the notorious wasteland.
He said: “A number of different developers have all tried to tackle this site unsuccessfully, meaning North Shore residents have been left with an eyesore that has been plagued by problems.
““The support for Devonshire Gardens has been incredible from the local community who are just so pleased that something is finally being done and the area is being improved.
“We have 30 new homes now ready for people to move into and another 38 will be ready within the next six months.”
He said that the half built homes were owned by former England footballer Emile Heskey but were abandoned when the developer who sold them to him went out of business.
He said: “It is a real shame for everyone concerned.
“Neighbours tell us that they have had squatters in there. You can see the graffiti on the walls. We have had to make them secure.
“We are in negotiations now to take over and they will have to be demolished and new houses built there.”
He said the Belmont Homes aimed to build homes for first time buyers and the Devonshire Gardens site had a mix of one bedroom apartments, and two and three bedroom homes to cater for that market.
He said: “We know there are many people stuck in the rented sector in Blackpool and we are committed to proving that with the government-backed Help To Buy scheme that buying in a prime Blackpool location could be more affordable than you think.”
He said they were designed with large living spaces, kitchen and dining areas and the site was a short drive away from the town centre, close to several popular parks, and with the railway station within walking distance, so ideal for young workers.