Last residents of ‘ghost town’ estate dubbed Beirut finally leave after 18 years

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The last remaining residents of a decaying housing estate dubbed Beirut by locals are preparing to move out – nearly two decades after it was condemned.

All 240 homes on the Deans South estate were declared inhabitable by council bosses in 2004 because materials used in the building process were considered to be unsafe.

Council tenants were quickly moved into other properties but a handful of homeowners refused to sell up unless they were offered more cash.

Over the years, only essential services have been maintained and all but around two dozen houses have been bulldozed.

However, a deal was struck in 2020 after West Lothian Council sold the land to construction firm Springfield Properties for £430,000 on the condition that owners be rehomed, EdinburghLive reports.

Mum Kerry Mackintosh said her house was declared inhabitable just two years after she bought it in 2002. She said the council offered just £20,000.

She said: "We shouldn’t have had to live like this, we are normal working-class people so why should we be diminished just because we own our house?

"It should have just been a fair deal right from the start – a house for a house. That is all we always asked for."

Kerry is expecting to move into her new home by Easter. In the meantime, she's hunkering down for one last winter in her old derelict home.

She said: "We’ve got one more winter. One more winter of keeping the weather out, but now we know we are moving. We’ll be in a temporary home from Easter but then we’ll be in our new home from home."

Despite having lived on the miserable estate for 20 years, Kerry says she has become attached to the old house and leaving it behind will be tough.

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"I’ll be in tears," she said.

"Tears of happiness, but also tears of sadness. As a family, we have very happy memories inside this home.

"My kids grew up in this house – it’s the only home they’ve known.

"Happy memories we can take with us to our new home."

Joe Baxter, 78, and wife Isabel, 79, were also among the residents who refused to move from the four-bed home they bought from the local authority.

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The couples said they were offered just £47,000 for their home, despite it being valued at £105,000 15 years ago.

Joe previously told The Sun: "We have had this house for 53 years – for 20 years we rented it. We bought it in 1986 through Right to Buy and paid off the mortgage.

"The situation is demoralising. We love our house – there's nothing wrong with it. We have got a lovely garden."

He went on: "We had great neighbours and a great community. We call it 'Beirut' – it is like a ghost town."

  • Property

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