Nick Wisniewski, 67, is the sole resident of flats that once held over 200 people across 128 blocks – but despite being offered £40k to move, he still won’t move
The “last man standing” on a housing estate being demolished is still refusing to move after two years – despite the council upping its offer to £40,000.
Nick Wisniewski, 67, is the sole resident of flats in Gowkthrapple, Wishaw, Scotland – which once held over 200 people across 128 blocks. Authorities want to demolish the whole estate and everyone else has moved out, but Nick isn’t budging. He bought the home 22 years ago through the Right to Buy scheme and had planned to stay permanently to avoid paying rent or a mortgage after retiring.
North Lanarkshire Council has made multiple attempts over the years to purchase the property from Nick, to no avail. He was initially offered £35,000 for the property, which then increased to £40,000, but refused both offers.
The council has since applied for a Compulsory Purchase Order to remove Nick from the flat – and he and the authority have recently held new talks. Nick also has become the subject of a new documentary ‘Exile on Stanhope Place’ by Ryan Pollock, which chronicles Nick’s battle with North Lanarkshire Council.
Speaking to STV News Nick said: “I bought the flat so that if anything happened to my son when I’m not here, he’d have a roof over his head, but that safety is obviously gone now. I also bought it to save me paying rent after retirement, but now because the council have decided to go ahead with these redevelopment plans, I’m suddenly expected to start paying rent again, why should I? I’m not prepared to leave myself skint.”
Now, fellow Wishaw resident and filmmaker Ryan has released a documentary chronicling Nick’s first discussions with the council in over a year.
The filmmaker, who has family ties to the estate told STV that the “injustice was too important to ignore.” He went on: “I’m hoping to make some noise about what’s going on and bring the community’s attention to it, because I think it’s an indictment on our country that a pensioner is being treated like this and will remain so until he gets a fair deal.”
North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed that it still intends to progress with the demolition of the block, and is “exploring options” for housing arrangements for Nick. A spokesperson said: “Our contractors are progressing with the demolition of low-rise blocks as part of our ambitious plans to transform this area of Gowkthrapple. We continue to explore all options available to provide Mr Wisniewski with suitable alternative housing, to try to avoid the need to use a Compulsory Purchase Order.”