One woman claims she feels ‘devastated” to find herself homeless just weeks before Christmas because her estate has been set for demolition.

Linda Elsworth (71), is one of many tenants at Sugar Hill Estate in Oulton Leeds who were issued with eviction warnings that required them to vacate their properties by Wednesday.

Ms Elsworth claimed that the home was going to be her forever home and that there is no place for her to call home if she moves out next week.

Originaly from Hornsea in East Yorkshire, the pensioner said that he paid out his own money and called it home. I was comfortable in thinking this would be my forever home and now the rug’s been pulled from under us and it’s not.’

Landlord Pemberstone had been planning the estate’s redevelopment since 2019. The estate’s eight most structurally unsound houses have been evicted. 

Linda Elsworth, 71, outside her much-loved home in Oulton, Leeds, which is earmarked for demolition

Linda Elsworth (71), outside her beloved home in Oulton Leeds. It is being demolished

After her divorce, Ms Elsworth moved six and a half years ago to Sugar Hill as an administrator.

Hazel, her best friend, lived on the estate. She suggested that she also move there as it was both affordable and would allow her to be surrounded by others. Ms Elsworth listened to her friend and bought the essentials she needed in order to build a house in Oulton.

She stated that it was a bit disconcerting because she had spent most of her savings in order to build this house and now all my money is going to be lost.

‘It’s devastating. It’s almost like losing your loved ones. Being homeless can be frightening, particularly at this time of the year.

Ms Elsworth is one of several tenants who have been issued with eviction notices that require them to be out of their homes by Wednesday

Ms Elsworth, one of the tenants who were served with eviction warnings demanding they be removed from their home by Wednesday is just one example of the many.

Her home is decorated in two of her favorite ‘obsessions’: owls as well as the purple color, which she has collected to make it hers. 

Ms Elsworth stated that she was having to move all her boxes and all of my memories. Because there will not be enough room, I have to make a decision about which things to keep and what to donate.

Linda, along with some neighbours, received notification in August from Pemberstone that the application to bulldoze an old mining estate was being considered. Linda had been fighting Pemberstone for several years.

Ms Elsworth stated that she only had four to five days, but it’s impossible for me to travel because there is no place to go.

“I physically look for places, but it just doesn’t exist – or at least I don’t have the means to pay.”   

“The main reason that we live in this area is because it’s affordable for those on state pensions and housing benefits, as well as people with lower incomes. 

“I don’t know what I should do.” If Wednesday rolls around, I’m going have to apologize for not moving. I don’t know where to go.

A residents' campaign group, Save Our Homes LS26, urged the council to buy the estate and refurbish the houses, but chiefs concluded it would be too expensive

Save Our Homes LS26 was a residents’ group that urged council officials to purchase the estate and renovate the homes. But chiefs decided it would not be financially feasible.

“When I came here, I was much more healthy and capable of doing it. However, my health is declining and now I require walking aids. 

Ms Elsworth claims she’s been trying to find an apartment in Leeds’ highly competitive housing market. Because of her mobility issues, she is interested in ground-floor bungalows and flats with lifts. She also requires specific kitchen and bathroom fittings such as a walkin shower.

Because she was unable to handle the property on her own, she turned down 2 properties.

Leeds City Council promises to provide financial support to tenants, such as Ms Elsworth, to ensure they are not homeless. But it’s still possible that she won’t be able remain in the same place because of the lengthy waiting list.

Ms Elsworth stated that she knows that if you ask your neighbours and friends for help packing, they will be there to assist – this is how they work.

This is what makes it worse. Our friendships and relationships go beyond just being friends. It’s an extended family. Losing that will be like cutting off my family.

“I don’t have anyone nearby that I can count on. My family is my only source of support. They helped me through the entire pandemic. I don’t know where I would be without them. 

Leeds City Council initially denied Pemberstone permission to bulldoze estate in 2019. However, the decision was reversed by the government the following year.

Save Our Homes LS26, a resident’s campaign group, urged council officials to purchase the estate and renovate the houses. But chiefs found it too costly.

Ms Elsworth's home is decked out in her two favourite 'obsessions' - owls and the colour purple - collections she built up to make the place her own

The home of Ms Elsworth is decorated in two of her favourite “obsessions” – purple and owls – which she collected to make it hers.

Leeds City Council spokeswoman said, “The notices being given to Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive residents in Oulton were from landlord Pemberstone. This is in line with national law.”

“In terms of council support to the residents, Leeds Housing Options contacted them with advice, assistance and also a surgery took place last week in the community, both in the morning and at night.

“At surgery applications were made for council housing and priority allocations under Part 7 of the Housing Act were given. On an individual basis, detailed advice was provided.

The council also backdated priority awards to January 15-2021, in accordance with the appeals panel determination. This will support tenants who have lost their homes but are not currently enrolled with Leeds Housing Options.

“The council is aware of the time constraints involved. While we work with residents to offer a property to them, there are strong supports in place to support residents in securing private rental accommodation for the near term.

Pemberstone has yet to confirm who will buy the site or develop it. However, Pemberstone remains committed to working together to provide affordable rental homes for tenants who are being displaced.

Helen Hayden is the Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate. She stated that her priority was to help tenants avoid stress or hardship and provide all guidance and assistance to make sure they have alternate accommodation.

“We also have a commitment to work with the developer to make sure tenants who have been displaced have priority for new affordable housing, and the goal is to now have 40 of these properties for rent.

“Moving forward the council is committed to lobbying the government to amend the law to end evictions without fault.”

For comment, the Pembertoin Group was contacted.