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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 10:00 GMT
Demolition option for coal mine estate
Harrowby Road estate
The estate was built 70 years ago
Housing officers say it is "feasible" that a Black Country housing estate which was built on a coal mine in the 1930s will be pulled down.

Less than half of the 127 houses on the Harrowby Road estate in Moxley are occupied.

Problems with subsidence have forced families to move out because the homes are too dangerous to live in.

But it would cost almost as much to make the homes safe as it would to knock down the estate and rebuild it.

Collapsed mineshaft

Housing officers at Walsall Council said the foundations of the houses were not built sufficiently strong and it is expected more homes will become dangerous as the foundations weaken.

In Hughes Road, half a mile away, a house disappeared into a collapsed mineshaft two and a half years ago.

The Harrowby Road houses are not under the same threat but council housing officer Lawrence Brazier says foundations were inadequate for the remade ground conditions following mining.

Dangerous home
Only 60 families remain on the estate
A council meeting on Monday evening decided to investigate further the option of pulling down the homes.

Mr Brazier told BBC News Online: "There is a limited amount of choice.

"Demolition seems to be the most feasible option to getting improvements to the properties.

Mr Brazier said there was a risk the area could become blighted if the council refurbished the homes.

"It is not good for the area. We need to get redeveloped. We need to start some regeneration."

A final decision on whether the homes will be pulled down will be made once a feasibility study is completed.

Householders will be relocated, many within the local area.

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

19 Oct 01 | England
M6 sinks by three feet
30 Jul 01 | Scotland
Mines blamed for housing collapses
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