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Welsh Streets public inquiry begins

Hearing 'forced' on Liverpool by Pickles expected to last three weeks

Published on June 13th 2014.


Welsh Streets public inquiry begins
 

A PUBLIC inquiry "forced" on Liverpool by the Government into the controversial regeneration of the Welsh Streets, gets under way next week.

Liverpool City Council wants to bulldoze 271 houses off Park Road and replace them with 154 new houses.

Another 37 terraced properties - including the frontage of the former home of Beatle Ringo Starr - will be refurbished.  

In a long running saga, going back to 2008, the £15 million plan has been opposed by heritage campaigners who say that the houses should be restored. 

But last September, only hours after it had been rubber stamped by city planners, the scheme was called in by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

His department said it had taken the rare step because the issue had broader implications for the historic environment.  The decision was slammed by a furious Mayor Joe Anderson who accused the Government of interfering and delaying the project.

Joe Anderson Argues The Toss With Heritage Campaigner Jonathan Brown In A Story Which Attracted National AttentionJoe Anderson argues the toss with Grant Shapps in a story which attracted national attention

 “I am personally fed up with government interference like this, which has now delayed local people having the good quality homes they deserve," he said at the time. "All this community wants is certainty and the government has slapped them in the face with this decision."

The hearing, which Mayor Anderson said had been forced on the city, begins on Tuesday (June 17). It will also look at plans by the council to compulsorily purchase the last eight of the 311 "interests" which it says are needed to deliver phases one and two of the £15 million scheme.  Three have already been cleared, two are residential properties and three are commercial units. Five are already vacant. 

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “Our plans were supported by more than 70 percent of local people following a thorough and detailed consultation, so we will be making a strong and powerful case on their behalf at the inquiry. 

“The residents of the Welsh Streets have waited far too long for regeneration. They have shown real determination, resilience and fantastic community spirit, to fight for a future where boarded-up, derelict properties are replaced by modern, family homes. 

Welsh Streets PlanThe Welsh streets plan was called in by Eric Pickles

“Some are living in damp, cold conditions and it is having a major impact on their health. It is absolutely heartbreaking, and we are committed to delivering this project as quickly as possible if we get the outcome the local community so desires.” 

But Save Britain's Heritage campaigner Jonathan Brown told Confidential last year: "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 hearing is being held at the Cunard Building at the Pier Head, and is expected to last three weeks.

A special website has been set up which has all of the main documents and evidence submitted to the inquiry. It can be found here. 

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

Phillip LawlerJune 13th 2014.

I remember seeing the Welsh Street's on the 'Mind the gap' BBC programme with Evan Davies. It was trying to pass off the area as a typical example of part of a city that is contracting/declining in comparison to Cambridge. A bizare contorted example but it did make Liverpool look a bit cack in my book. People only come here for Beatle related tourist days. The truth is different as we know and Major Anderson, like him or not, has been pushing this area with plans for re-development and the buy your own house for a pound scheme etc (Look up the efforts in Kensington which are looking quite tidy already). The Welsh streets are a mess but not through want of trying!

Mary HuxhamJune 13th 2014.

Jonathan Brown , "SAVE" & those of their ilk need to butt out. They and the one who started this opposition have interfered for far too long in other peoples' lives, by arrogantly trying to make the public believe, that they know better than those living in these houses. They have been told time after time that the properties were refurbished in the late 70's, which failed to solve the problems of Damp & Subsidence. Jonathan seems to love the phrase " managed decline", which is far from the truth of the matter, as the community voted "en masse" for demolition & newbuild over 10 years ago, only for activists like himself to put their noses into something that does not concern them, which left the properties to further decline with the years. Had they not interfered New Homes would have been built long ago on the site. Oh I forgot they love old derelict buildings more than human beings. How sad!

scouse690June 14th 2014.

Not sure where you live, Philip Lawler or Mary Huxham! These so called derelict buildings should be refurbished.....too much demolition....and not enough recreation of our fabulous heritage! This is not disparaging to "Human Beings"...at all!! It should be to do with refurbishment of our fabulous Victorian terraced streets! By the way, Mary Huxham, we DO love are derelict buildings, and we all do our best to preserve them! They are our heritage, and should stay that way!!!

JonathanJune 15th 2014.

The truth is the Welsh Streets demolition plans were secretly drawn up in 2002/03, before any public consultation with all the residents. At that point, the homes were in better condition than the city average, and with fewer empties, on the council's own figures. The council's official survey in spring 2005 shows 114 people in the area against demolition, and 86 in favour. That's a 57% majority who wanted their homes to stay. In Madryn Street it was even more overwhelming - 32 people against demolition and just one in favour. In the wider Princes Park Renewal Area, where houses enjoyed some refurbishment, the plans had 97 supporters and 80 objecting. In the rest of the Liverpool 8 postcode there were 77 objectors and nobody in favour. Responses from other areas of Liverpool numbered 174 against, and again, none in favour. There were 7 objections from outside Liverpool, and no supporters. The total was 338 objections and 97 supporters. Not exactly a vote 'en masse' for demolition. Source - Declaration of Princes Park Renewal Area, 2005, Appendix, Table 3, page 106.

AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

Just knock em down....They're shite.

Mary HuxhamJune 17th 2014.

Scouse 690 I lived in one of those Streets for 68 years until 2007 when I moved to new housing a few minutes walk from our former homes, with over 100 neighbours from the Welsh Streets, to bigger, warmer, energy efficient family homes, not little boxes Jonathan & others would have you believe.What annoys me about SAVE, Jonathan & co is the fact that they care more about old falling down buildings than the truth of the detrimental effect on peoples lives, they & their cronies have caused.They pluck numbers out of the air to justify their diatribes and their need to be seen as more knowledgeable than anyone else. We are still part of the Community and will continue to support our friends & neighbours left in the Welsh Streets.

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