FRED AND ROSE WEST MOVE INTO HIGHER BROUGHTON
Salford City Council should have been dragged up before the High Court back in November 2009, after residents of the Top Streets in Higher Broughton took out an injunction against the Council to stop it from demolishing their homes.
Back in 2006 Salford Council had stated it would refurbish 23 properties in the area (15 on King Street and eight on Devonshire Street), only for the Council's Strategic Director for Sustainable Regeneration, Paul Walker, to turn around in April 2009 and write to residents: "Regrettably…the option to retain and refurbish properties within the area to provide re-housing is no longer viable".
Most controversially, and laughably, one of the main reasons given was that estimates obtained from the regeneration company Higher Broughton Partnership (made up of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Salford City Council, Inpartnership Ltd and City Spirit) indicated "refurbishment costs of up to £130,000 per property".
An independent builder told the Salford Star at the time that the costs would be no more than between £50,000 and £70,000. And Salford Council's own joint venture company, Urban Vision, quoted £64,313 to fully refurbish a terraced house across the road (see here for full story).
The Council's `no longer viable' excuse was also undermined by a letter in July 2008 from Graeme Hogg, of Inpartnership Ltd and a director of the Higher Broughton Partnership, to Urban Vision stating that "The Partnership has, to my mind, always been rather reluctant to consider refurbishment options and would prefer to concentrate on new build".
By now, Salford Council should have been in court – but each time the case has been due to be heard it's either delayed the proceedings or offered a `consultation' meeting with residents where half cocked unacceptable offers have been made. Today's meeting with residents is yet another attempt by Salford Council to keep itself out of the High Court.
However, last week, builders began arriving in the Top Streets and started to refurbish around ten houses, removing tins from the empty properties and putting in windows, painting the exteriors and even building new front walls and gardens.
Residents believed that Salford Council had finally caved in and fulfilled its promises – until the true horror dawned. The builders were merely preparing the properties as a film set for a two part ITV drama about mass murderers Fred and Rose West, to be called Appropriate Adult, and starring, we understand, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Monica Dolan.
The properties in the Top Streets are being done up to reconstruct the street where the Wests lived and where the grizzly murders took place.
"They can refurbish the houses for a film set but can't do them up for the people who live here" said one resident "It's disgusting and shocking."
Last year, real horror arrived in the Top Streets when Guy Griffiths, one of the last remaining residents, discovered a hand appearing from his attic (see Horror In Higher Broughton click here)
The Top Streets are fast becoming a mini Media City with the BBC also filming along the same streets, while last year a chippy with flashing lights suddenly appeared amongst the tinned up houses – as a set for Coronation Street (see here).
While the Top Streets terraces become some of the most viewed houses on tv, the real life regeneration misery of the people who live there continues…
See also: Fear and Loathing in Higher Broughton
Our photo shows the condemned houses being refurbished for Fred and Rose West