Salford family of seven face eviction with house set to be bulldozed for regeneration scheme

The couple bought the property 14 years ago and say they are being forced out against their wishes.

A house where a family of seven live but which stands in the way of a £250 million regeneration scheme is to be forcibly bought by Salford council and bulldozed.

Councillors have agreed to go ahead with a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the home in Holcombe Close, Pendleton.

The terraced houses in the street are boarded up and have been derelict for years, apart from number 14, owned by Demonique Wilson and wife Thabo.

The couple, live in the three-bedroom property they bought 14 years ago for £70,000 with their five children, and they say Salford council have offered them £95,000 to move out.

But Mr Wilson argues it would be “impossible” for him to buy a three-bed property in Salford for that money and the only alternatives presented to the family have been rented accommodation.

Demonique Wilson outside his Salford home Credit: LDRS

“The problem is, I still have a £23,000 mortgage on this house,” he said. “We want to stay in Salford, where our children go to school and where our lives are, but the compensation we’re being offered is nowhere near what we need. We are being forced out of our home.”

He said he had engaged a law firm and surveyor who he believes will be able to get a “fairer price” for his house through the courts now that Salford is to make the house the subject of a CPO.

Mr Wilson is a qualified mental health nurse and has formerly been based at Salford Royal Hospital, but he is currently not working because of a heart problem which occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillors at a Property and Regeneration meeting have agreed to push ahead with the CPO and plans for 575 family homes and apartments including 173 affordable homes and an “extra care scheme”.

Extra care schemes encourage independent living with specialist 24-hour care and support for those people who require it and additional provision is much needed to meet demand.

Chair Councillor Tracy Kelly said: “A CPO cannot be taken lightly. We’ve afforded every opportunity to the occupants [of number 14] to find a solution.

“We have lots of people on our housing waiting list that need housing. This particular area has been awaiting progress for years.”

Coun Bill Hinds added: “We’ve bent over backwards with these people, so I don’t think we have any alternative.”

If the Holcombe Close properties are finally demolished they will make way for a new leisure centre – the Pendleton Community Activity and Health Club (PCAHH) – and the new houses.

Asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service to comment further on the Wilsons’ situation, a Salford council spokesperson said: “The council only uses compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers as a last resort but considers that this is now needed to buy the last remaining house and continue the regeneration of Pendleton which began almost 10 years ago. 

“The property is located on the High Street estate which previously had 490 council-owned homes on a site of 55 hectares. All of these residents were supported to find new accommodation before the estate was demolished. 

‘’Of all the homes on the estate, 14 had been bought by residents using Right to Buy powers. Salford city council reached agreements with 13 homeowners to buy the properties back and now only 14 Holcombe Close remains in private ownership.

“Over the past 10 years every effort has been made to reach an agreement on a value and find suitable alternative accommodation, but all offers have been rejected. We have worked as hard as we can to find a satisfactory resolution for all parties. 

“To enable us to continue the comprehensive redevelopment of the area that includes a new Pendleton Community Activity and Health Hub, new private and affordable homes, and improvements to the park compulsory purchase powers have been chosen as the most suitable way to unlock this piece of land and move the project forwards.”