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Homeowner Who Refused To Leave Ex-Council House Leaves Hospital To Find Brand New Estate Built Around Home

Rebecca Shepherd

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Homeowner Who Refused To Leave Ex-Council House Leaves Hospital To Find Brand New Estate Built Around Home

A pensioner has revealed how he returned from hospital after nearly a year to find a new 178-home estate had been built around his ex-council house.

Charlie Wright's home was the sole property remaining in an area of wasteland after he refused to sell it and gradually watched all the houses around him get flattened.

Charlie's house is the one with the yellow door. The two joining properties have been knocked down. Credit: Liverpool Echo
Charlie's house is the one with the yellow door. The two joining properties have been knocked down. Credit: Liverpool Echo

The four-bedroom home, in Birkenhead, Merseyside, was once part of an old estate known as River Streets, so called because the streets were all named after British rivers.

Now, it's a detached property after the two homes either side were removed, the outside has been repainted, and Charlie no longer lives in splendid isolation but has a fresh set of neighbours which he says makes him feel 'safer'.

This is mainly to do with the fact that the 70-year-old was attacked in his home when a thug broke in last December and left him with life-changing injuries when he was hit three times over the head with a hammer.

When he came out of hospital, he was surprised by the speed of the housing development.

He said: "I'd spent most of the last year in hospital. When I left, they told me 'let's go and see your house'. I couldn't believe it, I said 'look at all these houses here'."

Credit: Liverpool Echo
Credit: Liverpool Echo

Charlie's fierce attachment to the home where he grew up with his parents and brothers and sisters (he was the second youngest out of nine) hasn't diminished over the years.

He said: "I won't move from here. My family has had this house for 100 years. It was my parents' house and they raised their children here.

"Twenty-odd years ago they began pulling the estate down, and the council offered people £2,000 and a house to move to.

"I just said, 'look this house is not up for sale'. Margaret Thatcher gave the ordinary person the right to buy their council house. There's nothing to think about, this house will never be sold.

"The only way anyone will get their hands on this house will be when I'm six feet under."

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Charlie's horizons have never stretched far beyond the estate. Even a trip over the water to Liverpool was a

rarity.

He said: "I've never had a holiday in my life. It just never bothered me. Living round here, when it was the old estate, everybody knew everyone. It was brilliant, everybody mucked in.

Credit: Liverpool Echo
Credit: Liverpool Echo

After the attack, Charlie was left with injuries which included memory impairment, and spent the best part of a year being treated in hospital and then at a specialist brain injuries unit.

He said: "It doesn't change the way I feel about living here. I'm never moving out of my house. Before this happened, I'd never had so much as a break-in in the 70 years I've lived here.

"Most of the memories are really good ones. I'm quite happy with myself.

"I've gone from living in a terraced house to a detached house with a driveway, so it's paid off for me in the end.

"I've got neighbours now, after 20-odd years of being on my own. It makes me feel safer."

Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo

Topics: News, UK News, Home

Rebecca Shepherd
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