Turn Back Time houses done up - but others left to rot

Albert Road
Albert Road
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IT was the side of Morecambe that TV viewers didn’t get to see.

Furious home owners say properties next to houses featured in a popular BBC TV series have been left to rot.

The homes on Albert Road in Morecambe’s West End are currently being featured on BBC2’s Turn Back Time which depicts three families experiencing various eras.

But residents say that Lancaster City Council has allowed many nearby properties to fall into a derelict state since they were bought as a part of a major regeneration project that fell through.

Local people are angry that the run-down buildings are lowering the tone of the area and the council – which says the area remains a high priority – appears to be doing nothing about it.

Steve Swithin, who lives on Albert Road, said: “Turn Back Time depicts Morecambe’ beaches and sunsets and just 30 yards away from these houses you walk into dereliction.

“Several years ago, these empty and now semi-derelict houses were subject to a compulsory purchase order by the council - as part of the West End “Masterplan” for redevelopment.

“The owners were moved out, the redevelopment has ceased and those properties are being left to rot.

“It is ironic that a TV production company, funded by the BBC, can find the resources to refurbish several properties in Albert Road and the council is prepared to do nothing to maintain a number of properties that they have now owned for several years.

“All my neighbours and myself have spent a lot of money on our properties to make the street a nice place to live.

“The front gardens of some of the properties are full of rubbish. We have to live round here, we don’t want to be surrounded by litter.

“The funding ran out and they disappeared - somewhere along the line this has to stop.

“Our council should be held to account. The longer these properties are left, the more they will cost.”

Albert Road resident Alan Cain said: “The BBC had scaffolding up on the whole block and they were sandblasting and painting.

“I was told the empty properties are so far gone inside that it’s not worth selling them.

“It’s a real, real shame because they can be developed and they are in rack and ruin at the moment.

“The windows are broken, the weeds are overgrown and there is rubbish everywhere.

“It’s just lowering the tone of the area.

“We spoke to some neighbours who said the properties opposite would be redeveloped within five years and that’s why we moved here.

“We put a lot of work into the house and have spent in the region of £40-£50,000 on rewiring, plumbing, flooring and a new kitchen.

“We are gutted because we have spent a lot of time and money on the property.”

Last year, Alan and his wife Lesley won a prize in the Morecambe in Bloom competition for their garden.

Alan said: “When we shut our front door, we have to appreciate what we have on the inside because across the road is so bad.

“We probably wouldn’t have bought the property if we’d known.”

Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said: “I can reassure residents that the regeneration of Morecambe’s West End remains a high priority for the council and we are working hard to achieve this.

“We will continue to explore ways in which we can deliver lasting improvements to properties in this area in our bid to transform them into quality modern family homes which is still very much on the cards.

“It was with great pleasure that the council was able to use a number of its empty properties to provide the perfect location for the next series of Turn Back Time and encourage series producers to bring this popular TV programme to Morecambe.”