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In the gloomy ghost town that lies abandoned 25 years after it opened

The property looks like television pictures of the worst public housing, with battered, sanctuary-like homes occupying a denuded and scarred cityscape that offers only clues to the community it once was

Joe and Isabel Baxter have lived in their home in Deans South for 53 years. Deans South housing estate of Livingston in West Lothian where there were once 240 occupied houses
Joe and Isabel Baxter have lived in their home in Deans South for 53 years. Deans South housing estate of Livingston in West Lothian where there were once 240 occupied houses

The town of Livingston has quiet streets, fly-covered vacant lots, and homes that stand empty apart from overgrown gardens.

It’s a far cry from what was envisioned in the 1960s, with only two dozen remaining of the 240 original homes.

The weather on the ghost estate is frightening; Sitting in a house surrounded by decaying and derelict buildings, Kerry Mackintosh and her two children are terrified of high winds and rain.

They fear that the neighboring buildings will collapse, they say Edinburgh Live.

But Kerry and the co-owners of Deans South face many battles over their future.







Kerry MacIntosh, who has lived on Deans South for 17 years
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Picture:

Katielee Arrowsmith SWNS)

Vulnerable elderly like Joe Baxter and his wife Isabel, who live on Empty Kerry Street, have been cut off from their families.

Nothing but essential services are maintained and 16-year talks about a future for the area are making little headway.

At least it’s quiet. Before the lockdown, there was demolition work that saw shelves shaken off the walls in their homes.

New council housing struggles against the older versions, but construction has plagued the Baxters and Kerry with power outages and broken drains and sewers.

Kerry is luckier than many. She kept her job and works from home with her two children.

But the ghost town felt even more isolated.







Livingston’s Deans South housing estate in West Lothian, where there were once 240 occupied houses and now only nine houses are occupied
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Picture:

Katielee Arrowsmith SWNS)

she said : “What kept me going were my two children. I kept my job and worked from home. It was tough for the kids to be stuck at home, but we are strong as a family.”

Kerry remains combative. The only contact she’s had, she says, is with Springfield Properties, who have promised the remaining owners a home for a home.

It is disputed by West Lothian Council, which maintains a plan to issue increased buyout payments for the properties, with the threat of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the other side.

“I couldn’t buy a caravan with what they offered me, let alone a three bedroom house for my family. Springfield is the only deal that’s on the table,” she said.

It was very different when Kerry, originally from Dundee, bought her house. There were great neighbors and a good community.

“This was a busy property in 2002. Two years later, a letter came through the door telling me the property was being demolished. I was appalled,” Kerry recalled.







Livingston’s Deans South housing estate in West Lothian, where there were once 240 occupied houses and now only nine houses are occupied
(

Picture:

Katielee Arrowsmith SWNS)

Things moved fast. The tenants were moved out after it was found that the building material Siporex, an aerated concrete used for the roof, was not suitable for heavy loads.

Then the demolition began.

Now the settlement looks like television pictures from the worst public housing in cities like New York. Worn, refuge homes occupying a barren and scarred cityscape that offers only clues to the communities they once were – sidewalks that led nowhere, empty metal frames bearing street names, and the ever-present jungle gardens.

Among the properties that still exist, many have been stripped of valuable copper.

Even paving stones and fences were taken away. Delivery trucks arrive at night and load up.

Young people break into vacant properties and try to break into occupied apartments.







GV of new homes on Staffa Avenue which is right next to the old derelict homes on Jura
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Picture:

Stuart Vance/Reach Plc)

Some run-down houses have been turned into drug dens or miserable squats. Young racers park and car headlights shine through Kerry’s curtains.

These are problems that existed for homeowners long before the coronavirus even existed.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “During the Covid pandemic, the housing service has focused on essential services such as emergency repair work, gas maintenance and homelessness. However, we have continued our work on Deans South and the contacting process with the owners regarding the Council’s offer has remained open. Progress has been hampered by Covid but it is our intention to go through the committee process now that they are operational again.”

Councilor Andrew Miller has denied the CPO’s threat to the homeowners.

He said: “Covid has brought so many things to a standstill. Regarding Deans South, I continue to support the remaining homeowners and believe the solution they are proposing should definitely still be on the agenda.”







Jurassic resident Kerry Macintosh’s home surrounded by derelict houses
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Picture:

Stuart Vance/Reach Plc)

Kerry has a tough and pragmatic approach, which is evident in the outspoken slogans she has painted on her garden fence.

However, it is as if she has a second job in addition to her actual job and is the mother of two teenagers who, until recently, were stuck at home for months.

She explained: “We have all worked very hard to support one another, especially those who have not been able to see their families. We all looked out for each other, that was the only support some vulnerable people had. We supported each other. We made sure we were all okay.”

While owning a home has been a mantra of adult life in this country for the past forty years, Deans South reminds us of the downside.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-bleak-ghost-town-lies-27109412 In the gloomy ghost town that lies abandoned 25 years after it opened

Fry Electronics Team

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