Blears offers happy ending to Edge Lane CPO sequel

At the second time of asking, English Partnerships has been given the go-ahead to compulsorily purchase 500 homes in the Edge Lane West development area on the outskirts of Liverpool after a ruling by Secretary of State Hazel Blears.

A public inquiry was held in January this year following the quashing of a CPO in September 2006 due to a technicality exposed by local campaigners, led by resident Elizabeth Pascoe. A High Court order earlier this year also stopped Liverpool City Council and EP demolishing a small number of vacant council properties on the site before a new CPO was secured.

Eliot Lewis-Ward, EP's area director for Merseyside and Cheshire, said: "The regeneration of the Edge Lane corridor remains of critical importance for Liverpool and the wider region, and will deliver significant housing, employment and environmental benefits for the community. We are pleased that a decision has been made that will help us to respond to the community's wishes for a comprehensive approach to transform the area."

Pascoe, backed by several regeneration lawyers working for free as they view the case as a cause celebre, is expected to lodge an appeal in the six-week window now open.

Currently almost 90% of the properties concerned are either already in public ownership or are in the process of acquisition.

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "The overwhelming majority of residents in this area have supported the plans to regenerate the Edge Lane area and they will welcome this decision whole-heartedly. We would hope that this scheme, which will revitalise this neighbourhood, can now make progress without any further delays."

The development site forms part of a major programme of works along the whole length of the Edge Lane corridor from the M62 to Hall Lane. Demolition of homes fronting Edge Lane West was seen as an essential part of the road-widening programme at a notorious traffic bottleneck in this key eastern gateway into the city.

Jim Gill, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said: "Regeneration work along the rest of the Edge Lane corridor is progressing well and is already bringing economic and community benefits. This positive decision will enable completion of the remaining areas, to the ultimate benefit of local people and the city as a whole."

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