We live in the shadow of a Premier League stadium – I used to love it… now it's embarrassing – it looks like a jigsaw | The Sun

HOMEOWNERS living in the shadow of a major football stadium say their once-popular neighbourhood has become "embarrassing" and looks "like a jigsaw".

Locals are leading an exodus from a neglected estate next to reigning Premier League and European champions Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

They say the area has slumped into decline – and shames the city as tens of thousands of football fans descend on the area every other weekend.

Residents have told how they used to love living on the Grey Mare estate next to the 55,000-seater venue which was initially built to host the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Yet plans by estate owners One Manchester to renovate homes have been abandoned due to financial problems, with locals complaining their properties have fallen into disrepair.

One local resident, who has lived on the estate in Beswick for more than 50 years, says many people are now wanting to leave.

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She told the Manchester Evening News: "I used to feel really good about living here.

"But since all this, it's just a s*** tip – and it's right by the stadium where thousands of people come.

"I've lived here since I was five – this is the first time I've thought I'd like to move."

Another local described the estate as looking "really run down", adding: "For people visiting the Etihad it just gives the wrong impression."

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And Glenda O'Hanlon said the paused redevelopment plans left the estate looking like an unfinished "jigsaw puzzle".

One Manchester manages the social housing on the estate and had planned to retrofit properties to improve their energy efficiency, but the scheme has stalled.

A masterplan drawn up in 2021 suggested demolishing 124 maisonettes, flats and houses and building 290 new homes but this too has been put on hold – with many properties now remaining boarded up.

Manchester City Council has been investigating whether they could help, but residents say they are presently "in limbo".

Manchester Central's Labour MP Lucy Powell said she was "very concerned and disappointed" by a lack of progress redeveloping the estate.

She said: "I feel that the current leadership of One Manchester aren't up to that task of delivering a big scheme like that.

"They've let residents down in the process and some of the work that's been carried out has not been carried out to the standard we'd expect."

One Manchester admitted residents had "understandable frustrations" but blamed an absence of "appropriate government-backed funding".

The firm said they were working with the city council "to make improvements for both our customers and the wider estate over the coming months".

A spokesperson added: "We will also look to collaborate on further investment proposals with MCC in the future."

Manchester council's executive member for housing and development Gavin White said: "The proposals to invest in and regenerate the Grey Mare Lane estate remain a priority for the council.

"We reassured local people at a meeting last week that the planned works would continue as promised.

"This includes delivering new homes which will complement the previous investment in this community, including new schools and leisure centre."

Manchester City, who last season won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League titles, moved into the Etihad – also known as the City of Manchester Stadium – in 2003.

Their previous home was Maine Road, in the city's Moss Side district.

It was demolished in 2003 and replaced by a new housing development – which still bears reminders of the location's footballing history.

Residents have said the Manchester City connections were a "big draw" in moving there.

Other locals not happy about living beside major football grounds, however, include those next to England's national stadium Wembley in north London.

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There have also been complaints from neighbours of Premier League side Brentford in west London as well as from residents who actually live inside the home of newly-promoted top-flight club Luton Town in Bedfordshire.

And residents next to another former Commonwealth Games venue – this one in Birmingham, which hosted last summer's event – have also said their neighbourhood has since been left "rotting".

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