Inside abandoned ‘Chernobyl’ estate where fleeing residents left their belongings behind

Step inside this abandoned estate, home to just 20 people and branded “Scotland’s Chernobyl “, and you’ll find a derelict area left to rot with old primary schools and a church boarded up.

The partially-abandoned and derelict housing estate was once the cheapest place to buy a property in Britain – with one flat selling for just £7,000 at auction.

While now home to just a handful of residents, it was once a thriving community of shipworkers in the 1920s.

It’s a far cry from that today, with the derelict estate of Clune Park in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, plagued by vandals and arsonists as the inside of some of the flats have been extensively damaged by fire.

A church and primary school on the estate are also boarded up and abandoned, with the leader of Inverclyde Council, Stephen McCabe, saying “it would remind you of somewhere like Chernobyl”.

Eerie photos from inside Clune Park, taken by a daring urban explorer, show abandoned homes full of possessions as if residents left their homes in a rush.

Some flats are in such poor condition that they pose a health risk.

Kyle Urbex, 26, felt uneasy as he explored the abandoned buildings and was in disbelief when he spotted people still living there.

10 years ago, it was estimated that it would cost some £36.5million to refurbish the buildings but, since then, they’ve deteriorated further.

Kyle told the Daily Record : “One of the things that struck me the most was that the majority of the flat blocks are abandoned and derelict but some people are still living there.

“Some flats still had lots of possessions in them, like someone had gone out for the day and never came back.

“Outside of the flats, it is surprising to see people still going about their normal lives and going into houses next to the estate when 80 per cent of it is derelict. It is sad in a way to see what would have once been a thriving community, where everyone knew each other, all falling into itself in a derelict state.”

While Kyle spent two-hours exploring the 45 four-storey tenement buildings, he could hear a handful of residents who remain on the estate moving around in occupied flats.

In one photograph, a mattress and carpet can be seen in a communal hall. Another shows a letter addressed to a previous tenant has been left untouched.

Kitchens and bathrooms inside the estate have fallen apart and extensive fire damage has led to peeling walls and structural damage.

The demolition of Clune Park has resulted in a long and bitter feud between private landlords who won’t sell up and Inverclyde Council, who want to demolish the eyesore building.

The plans to bulldoze the area stretch back years, and it was believed the estate was going to be destroyed in 2020.

However, talks with two major landlords ended without success in January this year.

In 2019, councillor Michael McCormick, Convener of Inverclyde Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee, said: “In the council’s opinion all of the flats on the estate are Below the Tolerable Standard (BTS) – they don’t meet the basic requirements to be classed as fit for people to live in.

“And the results of several, recent, independent surveys have done nothing to change this view.

“The poor physical and social conditions in the area, combined with the level of input required from Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Inverclyde Council, clearly shows that the private housing market has failed and that large-scale, planned intervention is urgently needed.”

He added: “Six buildings now have active Demolition Orders against them.

“The council is working towards demolishing all the buildings and clearing the site to allow this neglected part of Port Glasgow to be regenerated.

“A decade ago it was estimated that it would cost £36.5million to refurbish these buildings.

“They have deteriorated even more since then. We are making steady progress in terms of acquiring these undesirable properties.

“But the remaining owners need to recognise that the only future for these homes is demolition and, frankly, the sooner the better.”