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Who would have thought that an entire housing estate could sit derelict for more than a decade? All over the news we read about there being a housing shortage yet here is a colossal council housing estate that has just been left to crumble.

In 1999, The Billy Banks Estate was pretty much a ghost town, only 15 residents remained but this number shortly dropped to a lonely 1 when the rest agreed a price to sell their property back to the council ready for demolition.

Depending on who you speak to, the reason for the council wanting the properties back vary. We were told by a former resident that they had very minimal notice and was just told that the buildings were no longer safe so they were required to move out. We were also told that the only reason that the council wanted these properties back was to redevelop the estate to match the higher class of the Penarth area and of course, to make money. As for the true reason, we are currently awaiting a response from the Vale of Glamorgan Council… we doubt we will ever get one though.

The Billy Banks Estate

Visit Date: March 2012

To many people think these buildings are just an eyesore, just something that needs to be torn down and quick but once you look into its past and take a step back in time to picture what it was like to live there, you quickly realise that these were peoples homes, their memories and their lives.

A former resident explained that for many years this estate was a fantastic place to live. They would all come out and play a game of football in the square and they weren’t afraid to leave their doors wide open to let others from the estate inside for a drink and a chat. He then went onto explain that the council moved in a “rough and troublesome” family and things went down hill very quickly. We were left speechless when he explained that his young daughters were almost killed after a stolen car had gone through their wall where they were playing just seconds before. We were told about property being stolen from peoples homes and even clothes going missing from the washing lines.

The Billy Banks Estate was now the place for crime.

Even after The Billy Banks Estate became derelict, crime was still very much a big thing here and between 2006 and 2012, 56 criminal offences were committed at the estate including “sexual activity with a female child” and “causing a male child under 13 to engage in sexual activity”. Others included burglary in a dwelling, ABH, arson and carrying a loaded firearm / air weapon.

The Billy Banks Estate is now home to just 1 resident and a handful of new age travellers who seem to be doing a half decent job at keeping the estate a secure place. These buildings are already in a pretty bad shape and of course with demolition due at anytime, who knows how long this once happy and full of life housing estate will be standing.

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