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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 16:54 UK
Halcon, Taunton's most deprived estate set for makeover
Ruth Lovell
BBC Somerset politics reporter

boarded up house
196 homes would be demolished under the councils plans

A boarded up house with a 'for sale' sign outside greets me to Moorlands Road in Halcon, Taunton.

All the statistics say this is a deprived area but the metal sheeting over the windows still surprises me.

The borough council says it is hard to get people to move into vacant council homes here and once there, many tenants want to get out as soon as possible.

So Taunton Deane Borough Council has come up with a 'vision' for Halcon that involves bulldozing over 200 homes.

Overcrowded homes

That would include this boarded up house and the others on Moorland Road, as well as on neighbouring Valley Road and Beadon Road.

They are mostly two-bedroom houses built in the 1930s to replace slum housing elsewhere in the town. But the council says many are now home to families and are overcrowded.

Lauen Dingle, Halcon resident
Lauren shares a 2-bed house with her partner, 3 children and sister-in-law

I go to visit Lauren Dingle, 26, who has lived in Halcon for four years and currently had six members of her family living in a two-bedroom house.

She is excited about the plans that would see her home demolished and rebuilt with up to 500 others, as well as things like allotments, a community hall and even an anaerobic digester which would make energy from residents' waste.

"We're constantly asking for repairs cos these houses just seem to fall apart round your ears really. Plaster's falling off the ceiling; plasters falling off the walls. We've had people trying to nick lead off the roofs; copper piping goes missing off some of the houses."

"It would be nice for the children to have somewhere to play and bring the community together with a hall that we could use, and hopefully the children will feel more secure in their own homes."

The council says the plans aren't yet set in stone, and it wants to hear what local people want to see when Halcon North is rebuilt.



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