Liverpool moves forward on Welsh Streets revamp

Liverpool City Council has entered into a six-month exclusivity agreement with build-to-rent developer PlaceFirst to redevelop the Welsh Streets in Dingle.

PlaceFirst will survey the vacant houses and draw up new plans. The scheme will be aimed at the private rental market.

The council said it hoped a significant proportion of the 300 homes could be refurbished, with some knocked ‘three into two’ to make them larger and appeal to families.

The houses in the poorest condition and beyond viable refurbishment will be demolished, with the possibility of creating community open space and new properties in their place.

The move follows a decision in January 2015 by the then Secretary of State Eric Pickles to overturn a planning inspector’s approval for a scheme, which would have seen 271 homes replaced by 154 new houses, along with 37 refurbished terraced properties.

Pickles also scrapped long-standing planning and regeneration guidance which supported the need for large scale demolition, and replaced it with an approach that favours retention and refurbishment of older stock.

The deal was agreed following a vote by Liverpool City Council’s cabinet, which met on Friday 5 February.

David Smith-Milne, managing director of PlaceFirst, said: “The approval of the six-month exclusivity agreement will allow PlaceFirst to undertake comprehensive surveys of the existing empty homes and to understand what opportunities there are to integrate these properties into a wider masterplan including new family homes and great public spaces.

“PlaceFirst has significant experience in remodelling and refurbishment of empty period properties and we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge facing us at the Welsh Streets. The properties will no doubt be in varying degrees of condition and each property will present its own unique challenges. That said, we remain quietly confident a solution can be reached that will deliver genuine, long-term improvements for the Welsh Streets and the wider community”

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The plans should include a mix of tenures,which is what residents voted for. We just hope Place First is not intending to just refurbish & build for Private Rentals or selling to various investors as Private landlords.Also from the rents on the Accrington houses Place First are involved with,if the Welsh street properties rents are similar,local people will not be able to afford them.Residents need further clarification on these plans.

By Mary Huxham MBE

Hi all
This is great news for the retention and development of the older stock and not before time. My elderly parents have been living in this area amidst empty proprieties and generally not feeling protected or secure with a CPO, issued some years ago now hanging over their heads. Their concerns don’t appear to have been alleviated with little information available from council or developers. With my parents in minds I want to pose an important question, they live in the South Street terrace and therefore “will current residents be able to access development funding for their privately owned proprieties?

By Frank

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