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Residents living near a ‘ghost town’ housing estate built for NHS staff say it has become a magnet for fly-tippers, vandals and drug dealers after the old tenants were kicked out and the area was ‘left to rot’ for three years.
Hospital Close in Evington, Leicester was once a bustling community of hospital workers and their families.
Locals living in the shadow of Leicester General Hospital now say drug addicts and vandals are blighting the area and making them feel unsafe in their own homes after it was abandoned in 2019.
Three years ago University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust decided it could not afford to maintain the homes or upgrade them to modern standards. As a result, the Trust issued eviction notices to hospital staff and the health workers, including many nurses, living in the properties were forced to move out.
Hospital Close, in Evington, Leicester, was once a bustling community of hospital workers
In 2019, hospital workers who lived on the site were told they had to leave
The area has now become a fly tipping paradise with piles of detritus littering the area
Residents living near the area say it has become a magnet for fly-tippers, vandalism and drugs
Since then, the remaining residents say they have been ‘forgotten about’ as the estate has also become a hotspot for fly-tipping and other antisocial behaviour.
Ashley Lewis, 32, who lives on a neighbouring road, said: ‘It’s quite spooky to be honest, it’s a complete ghost town now. It used to be a thriving little community of NHS staff and their families. It’s gone from having these angels and life-savers to drug dealers and thugs. As people know its derelict you get people using and selling drugs, boy racers using it as a track and I don’t even walk over that way anymore. The fly-tipping is just constant, one thing will get dumped and once that’s cleared another load will replace it. It’s just really sad to see.’
Grandfather-of-two Terry Goldsmith, 69, who also lives nearby, added: ‘The place has just been left to rot and its a real shame.
‘You’ve got the hospital right next to it so it was a perfect place for staff to live. I’ve lived her 45 years and it was also quite a nice place to be. But now it looks like a warzone, the whole place is boarded up and a complete mess. There’s no street lights so it’s quite frightening.
‘The council said it would all be developed but nothing has happened in three years. It’s like they have forgotten about it and the remaining residents here.’
Three years ago University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust decided it could not afford to maintain the homes and upgrade them to modern standards
Since then, the remaining residents say they have been ‘forgotten about’ as the estate has become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour
Hospital staff previously spoke of their anger at being given just three months to find somewhere new to live after being booted out of the properties
The Trust issued eviction notices to hospital staff and the health workers, including many nurses, living in the properties were forced to move out
Hospital staff previously spoke of their anger at being given just three months to find somewhere new to live after being booted out of the properties.
George Kolankanny told his local newspaper at the time: ‘Our children go to school near here, we have lived here for ten years, it is our home. We both work at the hospital, we have lots of friends and neighbours here, we won’t have that anymore.
‘Living here we have our own community, we help each other out with dropping the kids off at school and picking them up depending on our shifts and we are good neighbours. When we all move on we won’t have that any more, everything is going to change. We’ve been telling them for years that the houses are not in a good state but they kept saying they were fine, but now all of a sudden we have to leave because they are not good enough.’
Leicester City Council bought 174 units of former nurses’ accommodation for £10.5million in March 2021 and said it would spend more than £4million bringing the homes back into use.
The authority said 135 new homes will eventually be created on the site, which will be used as affordable rented accommodation.
Leicester City Council bought 174 units of former nurses’ accommodation for £10.5 million in March 2021
It said it would spend more than £4 million bringing the homes back into use
The authority said 135 new homes will eventually be created on the site, which will be used as affordable rented accommodation
Speaking at the time, Leicester assistant city mayor responsible for housing, councillor Elly Cutkelvin, said: ‘These units were formally used to house nurses working at the neighbouring Leicester General Hospital, but have been unoccupied for many years and have fallen into disrepair.
‘We’ve been in talks with UHL about purchasing these units for several months, in order to bring them back into meaningful use and benefit local people by providing badly needed affordable housing.
‘The next step will be appointing contractors so that work can get underway on transforming these buildings and giving them a new lease of life.
‘Money from Right to Buy house purchases gets returned to the Government unless we put it to use ourselves, so by investing it in creating more affordable housing we are ensuring the money stays within Leicester and helps local people who need it most.’
A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: ‘Since the purchase of these vacant former nurses’ homes, we have been working hard to develop the estate to provide 135 new affordable homes.
‘We understand residents’ concerns regarding the condition of the site. We are working hard to bring the development forward as soon as possible with work expected to begin early next year.
‘We have also put in place a programme of clearance work, along with regular grounds maintenance and 24-hour security to help tackle issues of antisocial behaviour.
‘This is an ambitious £17million scheme being delivered in a very challenging economic climate. Once complete, it will provide much needed new housing and help revitalise what was at risk of becoming an abandoned estate.
‘In the meantime, we would encourage local residents to let us know of any issues so we can take steps to help address them.’
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