Mayor to consider Welsh Streets CPOs

The proposed compulsory purchase of the eight remaining property interests needed for the regeneration of the Welsh Streets area of Liverpool will be considered this week.

The Mayor's Cabinet is being asked to give approval to the acquisition of the last of the 311 interests needed to deliver phases one and two of the £15m scheme.

Three of the eight sites have already been cleared, two are residential properties and three are commercial units. Five of the sites are already vacant.

Compulsory purchase would enable the scheme to move forward as quickly as possible if it is given the go ahead at a forthcoming planning inquiry. No date has yet been set for the inquiry.

Under the plans, 280 homes will be demolished to be replaced by 150 new houses. Thirty seven terraced properties, including the former home of Beatle Ringo Starr, will be refurbished.

Various groups opposed the plans, arguing more houses should be saved and the scheme should include other uses such as shops.

Local housing association Plus Dane could lose 50% of its funding for the project from the Homes & Communities Agency if the work is not completed by March 2015.

Cllr Mayor Joe Anderson said the call-in by Secretary of State Eric Pickles was "hugely frustrating and bitterly disappointing for the local community".

The compulsory purchase order will be considered by the mayor's cabinet on Friday.

Cllr Ann O'Byrne, assistant mayor and cabinet member for housing, said: "Our plans were supported by more than 70% of local people following a thorough and detailed consultation, so we are confident that we will get the green light to proceed at the planning inquiry.

"We want to make sure we are in the best possible position to drive forward the regeneration at the conclusion of the inquiry. Purchasing the small number of remaining properties will enable us to do that.

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

"Some are living in damp, cold conditions and it is having a major impact on their health. We owe it to them to make sure we deliver this project as quickly as possible, if we get the outcome the local community so desires."

The Welsh Streets plans form part of the wider regeneration of the Princes Park neighbourhood, with more than 80% of the 2,500 properties in the renewal area being retained.

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I thought they were going to alter the law as it was currently cheaper for developers to knock down or only retain the facade of old buildings – surely if you made this more commercially viable for them then we could retain these buildings? I would definitely prefer to live in a refurbed terrace than the boxes they propose to build. Wasnt there a recent study that showed that a well maintained terrace would cost less in the longrun than an newer house?

By Annie Baines

Residents, many having lived in these terraces all their lives have worked together for over 11 years to bring these plans to fruition.The houses have suffered extreme damp & subsidence, as can be seen by anyone with common sense, having been built WITHOUT FOUNDATIONS in 1881.The fronts of some houses were rebuilt following local bomb damage in WW2 and there was refurbishment of them, in the late 70’s, which failed to combat the damp & subsidence. Take a look at the video on Liverpool City Council website Liverpool Express news page to view the condition of the properties.

By Mary Huxham MBE

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