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Keep out of Welsh streets, Government urged

Pickles suspends wrecking ball after demolition plan approved

Written by . Published on July 24th 2013.

Keep out of Welsh streets, Government urged

MAYOR of Liverpool Joe Anderson is demanding that Eric Pickles stay out of the decision on the future of the Welsh streets - saying that it should be left to the people to decide.

The call came after a heated debate yesterday at the Town Hall which saw plans rubber stamped to demolish hundreds of terraced homes in the Dingle.  

Within hours, the Department for Communities and Local Government ordered a halt to proceedings, giving Mr Pickles time to decide if he needs to intervene in the affair by calling a public inquiry.

In phase one, approved by the planning committee, 280 homes will go - to be replaced by 152 new - with some houses, including Ringo Starr's childhood home in the emotive Madryn Street and others in Kelvin Grove spared.  When the scheme spreads to the next phase the demolition tally could reach around 450 homes.

But a bit like the song, the long and winding saga is still set go on, and on. 

The proposals to redevelop the Welsh streets, backed by the city council and Plus Dane Housing group, were always going to be approved by councillors. Even the opponents knew that. 

Welsh Streets New HomesBut before the decision was made at the Town Hall yesterday, heritage campaigners had already declared they would ask Mr Pickles to call in the scheme. Failing that, they said they would consider court action to halt the project. 

It means the affair could drag on for months before the bulldozers arrive to sweep away houses more than a century old.  

Passions ran high during the council debate, exposing the rift between local people in favour of most of the houses being demolished to pave the way for new homes, and opponents who are adamant that far more dwellings than the proposed few dozen should be spared, and refurbished. 

Img_2455Site visit

Supports of the Dane Plus Plan told how their lives have been blighted for 13 years, forcing them to live in a rat invested environment in damp and squalid homes. 

But campaigners said there was no need for wholesale demolition. They submitted a compromise which would mean far more homes being saved. 

Jonathan Brown said: “We are not opposing people having new homes if that is what they want, but there is scope here to save far more houses. As things stand fewer than 10 percent of the houses in the Welsh Street area will be refurbished and the rest cleared. It has already cost at least £20m just to buy and board up these houses. This has been a policy of managed decline.”

The Welsh Streets Homes Group said: “Residents have famously disagreed about whether demolition or refurbishment was the best option, but it is now widely accepted that a compromise must be found to alleviate the problems they all struggle with: living in spoiled, tinned-up streets, some in damp and cracked homes, with constant disruption from arson, fly-tipping and vermin.”

Welsh Streets 2 

The group collaborated with local architects Constructive Thinking to create a potential solution that would save many more of the doomed houses.”

Cllr Ann O'Byrne, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The future of the Welsh streets has been looked at more than any other scheme and every time the only viable solution is demolition and rebuild. It is not demolition for the sake of pulling houses down, there are so many problems with these houses. The rebuild has widespread support and we welcome it.”

Veteran campaigner Nina Edge lives in one of the houses destined to be saved.

She said: “We have not objected to this application because we have to all live together in this community. I believe more of the houses could be saved, but people want new homes and they are entitled to that.”

Clementine Cecil, of Save Britain’s Heritage, travelled to Liverpool to address the committee.

“It has been demonstrated around the country that if there is a will, old houses are capable of being restored and re-used,” she said. “It could happen her in the Welsh streets.”

Ms Cecil dismissed criticism that most of the objectors were “national or international” opponents to the scheme.

We have put forward a compromise and if that is taken on board we can all move forwards. But if necessary we will consider legal action to halt this level of demolition. If every one of the houses in Welsh streets were restored there would be more than enough people eager to move in.”

The Battle of Welsh Street is far from over.

'For a government which is supposed to champion localism it would be a travesty if this decision was
made in Whitehall'

Joe AndersonJoe AndersonMayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The local community have said in no uncertain terms what they want in the Welsh Streets and as Mayor I have listened to them in progressing these proposals. 

“They are fed up with constant unnecessary delays which are stopping them having the good quality homes they deserve. There now needs to be certainty for the future. Eric Pickles also has to listen to them and decide that this is a decision which should be made locally by people who know and live in this neighbourhood. 

Eric-Pickles-LrEric Pickles“For a government which is supposed to champion localism it would be a travesty if this decision was made in Whitehall rather than Liverpool. His own government has even supported this scheme through grant allocations so I can’t imagine what reason there is for any further delay. 

“I urge the Secretary of State to stop any further prevarication, listen to the overwhelming local opinion and let the regeneration of the Welsh streets go ahead as soon as possible.”

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26 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Paul WardJuly 24th 2013.

Joe Anderson plays the localism card again, ignoring the fact that he means "do what Joe says".

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 24th 2013.

That's about the size of it

John BradleyJuly 24th 2013.

Are you local to the area Paul? If so How far from Ringos house do you live?

AnonymousJuly 24th 2013.

This is good news. It means Mayor Anderson will allow us, the people, to decide what happens to the Meadowlands in Sefton Park. Good old Joe.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 24th 2013.

but there are no residents on Sefton Park Meadows so it'll have to go to the people who own it and that is the entire population of Liverpool not your little pressure group.

Mary HuxhamJuly 24th 2013.

What are you people like. Listen to real Welsh Streets residents some still living in damp, subsiding properties who voted unanimously for Demolition & Newbuild in 2005. They deserve better homes. Welsh Streets Community Champions

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 24th 2013.

Nobody at the meeting opposed new homes for those wanting them. Trouble is LCC and the Dane Plus Group want a slash and burn pull everything down strategy. Seems many residents are being brainwashed by the house wreckers.

AnonymousJuly 24th 2013.

Shouldn't the housing people be called the Pull Down Group!

Craig EarleyJuly 24th 2013.

Joe Anderson is a bully. Where are all the jobs Joe promised? Constantly bickering with central government and making a show of us all..

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 24th 2013.

You expected to elect Joe one day and the jobs to appear the next day?

SaladDazeJuly 24th 2013.

Have you got the pictures above mixed up?

Slim PickingsJuly 24th 2013.

you could be right, dopelgangers, definitely both "afters" not a "before" to be had.

Mary HuxhamJuly 24th 2013.

Anonymous I can guess who you have been brainwashed by. It's a shame you cannot think intelligently for yourself, but follow the herd. You hide behind a pseudonym instead of being honest enough to state who you are. This is not a case of "what Joe wants" it is what Welsh Streets Community wants and have fought for over 10 years, to bring plans for regeneration of the area to fruition. The Localism Act 2011 is supposed to give communities the right to say what they want for their neighbourhood,as to the kind of housing & environment.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 24th 2013.

Which brings us back to Sefton Park. Joe makes it up as he goes along

Fairy NuffJuly 24th 2013.

Good thinking JB, you wouldn't want a garage in the loft. Are you suffering from repetitive digit syndrome? Or is it the end of your shift? Go and have a lie down Ginge. Joe wants you at your best tomorrow, he's got himself in to a bit of a pickle.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 24th 2013.

Trendy architects have been know to put garages in all sorts of places.

Fairy NuffJuly 24th 2013.

Not in Grove St pal, they're too busy building one room billets for the impending Chinese invasion.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 24th 2013.

Impending??? Compared with what it was like 3 years ago this place is alive, you don't enter the land time forgot as you cross Hope Street.

Fairy NuffJuly 24th 2013.

John enjoy the tranquillity whilst you can, that was just the scouting party.

John BradleyJuly 25th 2013.

Vine courts been full for a year. There is only the tiny one in the octagon to go. The Chinese a quiet and don't get in the way and they never walk around groping their own balls.

Ah NostalgiaJuly 24th 2013.

Tony Concepcion looks to have a starboard list, it must be that loose change from the socialist workers rag he used to peddle in the not so distant past

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