Benefits Street: House for sale in James Turner Street, Birmingham


Felicity Morse
Thursday 09 January 2014 13:33 GMT

It's the street that’s split opinion all over Britain... and now you can buy your very own house on it.

This two bedroom terraced house is for sale on James Turner street, aka Benefits Street, in Winson Green, Birmingham. Priced at £77,000, the property has been on sale for five months and has already been reduced from its original listing of £80,000. The average house price in Birmingham comes in at almost double this, at £155,000.

A three-bedroom house on the same street sold for £56,000 last February.

However after the way the residents were portrayed on the Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street on Monday, it is unlikely that potential buyers will be keen to snap up this mid-terrace house any time soon.

The series, which films in an area where 90 per cent of residents are said to be claiming benefits, is being reviewed by West Midland Police after contributors were seen boasting about shoplifting offences and growing cannabis in their homes.

Yet those who starred in the programme said they had been betrayed by the TV show and lied to by the programme makers Love Productions.

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James Turner Street resident Dee Roberts told the Birmingham Mail: “They said they wanted to film for a TV show about how great community spirit is in the street and how we all help each other out on a daily basis.

"They said that ‘Britain was broken’ but that I lived in an area where the community was very close. I participated in the show on that belief.

“But this programme has nothing to do with community, which you can tell from the title. It’s all about people in the street living off benefits, taking drugs and dossing around all day. It makes people out as complete scum.”

Now thousands have signed a petition on demanding that Channel 4 drop the remainder of Benefits Street, (next week’s episode looks into the impact of Eastern European immigrants) and make a donation to charity for the damage they caused. former bus driver Arshad Mahmood who is now out of work after having major surgery told the Independent he was worried about the effect the show would have on all people who claim benefits. The residents of Benefits Street have already been subjected to death threats themselves following the broadcast, with police investigating a number of abusive messages posted online.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said the broadcaster would not be pulling the remainder of the series.

“Filmed for more than a year, this fair and balanced observational documentary series is a fair reflection of the reality of life on a street where the majority of households receive benefits - and in an area of Birmingham that has had the highest rate of unemployment in the country for the last eight years,” she said.

“It is a sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal of how people are coping with continuing austerity and cuts in benefits.”

Benefits Street star Smoggy, an ex-convict who went door to door selling everyday items for 50p rather than claim benefits, has now been offered three jobs as a result of being in the show.

Virdee estates, the agency selling the house, said they were not interested in talking to journalists.

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