We sit down with a local to discuss his move from Arley Court in Netherton to his new bungalow in Dudley.
How long had you lived in Netherton & Arley Court?
38 years. I moved there in March 1978 and left in November 2016. I lived on the second floor of Arley Court. It was so easy to get the flat, I went with my daughter to look at it and they even brought the keys with them. I accepted it right there and then.
What was life like in the flats for you?
When I first moved in, the area was a bit rough. After a few years, they got things sorted out. They had cameras put in, carpets in the foyer and life in general there got much better. They have concierge there at night time, and it’s much better now than it’s ever been. Over the years, I’ve had a couple of friends in the flats, my neighbours were always very nice, but by the end the community spirit had mostly gone.
What are your fondest memories of Netherton?
I’d go for a drink to the local pub, there were a few around the flats that I’d go to. The area was quite quiet then. Another thing I liked was every Thursday, Champions Church down the road would bring everyone in the flats some bread, that was always really nice. I didn’t buy bread for months! That kept the community spirit going for a little longer. They only stopped doing that when the demolition announcement came out.
What other changes to Netherton can you remember?
There have been so many changes in Netherton over the years. Changes to streets, the street names, knocked old buildings down to replace them with nice new ones, some of which I think are nice new flats. But there have been many changes, all for the better of the area.
Were you pleased with the communication about the demolition from the Council?
Yeah I was very happy with it. When they first announced the demolition, I knew it was best to adapt. I knew I was going to have to leave at some point, so I just accepted it. Overall the process of apply for and finding a new place was about a month, so I was really happy with how quick I was able to sort it. The communication was pretty good and I really appreciated that.
What was the general opinion of the demolition in the flats?
Well, what can you say? They looked after the flats as much as they could, but the council has looked at the expense of the upkeep, and they said it’s too much cost. It’s cheaper to knock them down and move tenants elsewhere. They could end up spending millions to patch them up but it won’t benefit anyone in the end.
How do you feel about them being demolished?
I feel better off now I’m in my bungalow, as I was starting to have issues with moving round the flats, coming up and down the stairs. When the lift was out it was quite a danger for me to be walking up and down the concrete steps with two sticks. Also, I don’t think many people were left in the flats. When I’d come back from bingo, I only saw one or two lights on – nothing like it used to be.
What would you like to see done with the land?
It would be nice if they built some bungalows, I don’t think there’s enough of them about at the minute. It’s a big plot of land, so they could definitely get a dozen or so on there.
Are you pleased with your new accommodation?
Very, very happy. I’m really pleased with what they’ve given me.
How was the move to your new home?
Easy enough. The council offered to provide transport for my furniture and things but I had my family to help me with that. I wasn’t given a time limit on how quickly I had to have all of my things out of there – I could have taken as long as I wanted.
Is there anything the Council could have improved on with your move from the flats to your new home?
Not really, they asked me if I needed any help along the way from start to finish, and they kept us in the loop about anything that was going on. I’m happy now to settle into my new home.