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Despite being earmarked for demolition in 2003 by the local council after serious flooding, 2 streets within Merthyr Vale were left to suffer devastation as severe flooding hit Taff Street and Crescent Street once again during 2008.

Previous news reports have shown photographs of cars submerged deep in river water from the River Taff as residents work together to try and save more than 100 family homes on the streets from further damage.

By 2013, the council had purchased just 20 of the family homes based on flood risk profiles whilst other residents claimed that they were left in limbo as repair work wouldn’t go ahead because the council kept threatening demolition.

By 2018, the council had finally made the decision to purchase all of the properties under a compulsory purchase order and confirmed that the two streets would be demolished.

Taff & Crescent Street

Visit Date: May 2019

Speaking to past residents, they tell a different story though. We’re told that Taff Street “only flooded the once” and that the affected homes “have already been demolished”. It is alleged that no other floods affected that street, but it was confirmed that “Crescent Street was flooded a few times” and that “water would pour through the letter boxes”.

Since 2018, all of the properties were sealed but not even that lasted long. Metal thieves and vandals quickly made their way onto the streets to steel or damage the very little that remained. Windows are smashed, family homes set alight, boilers ripped out and floor boards taken up. These two streets that were once home to families now sit in a ghost town state.

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Although most properties have been stripped, some still contained family photographs, wedding photographs, birthday cards, school work and the graffiti across the streets saying, “not for sale” make the situation a stark reality as we photograph the properties.

Whilst to many, these two streets will just look like the typical housing estate that has been left abandoned, to those around it, it was once a place that they called home. Their children were born there, loved ones died there and it was a place where the council let them down like never before.

Merthyr Tydfil Council spent more than £1.7million to take possession of these two streets of homes, claiming a high risk flood profile left them with no choice. Many of the past residents are questioning this decision though as the area has not flooded since it became deserted.

Despite forcing many families out of their home, in 2019 the two streets remain abandoned. Recent fires have clearly taken place and during our visit, a large number of youths were leaving the site as we arrived. It saddens us to think that this is not the first estate such as this we have visited and most probably won’t be the last.

We hope that the former residents of this once bustling area are now settled within their new homes. If you would like to share your experience with us, we would love to hear your story.

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