Council bids for £10m HMR transition funding

Liverpool City Council is bidding for a share of £30m in Government cash to help boost areas affected by the removal of Housing Market Renewal funding.

The council has submitted a bid for Government's HMR transition funding, which it said is part of its continuing work to protect vulnerable Liverpool residents and allow housing renewal to continue, by identifying and drawing down funding from different sources.

The Government announced the creation of the £30m HMR transition fund in May, to re-house the residents left most vulnerable and stranded in clearance areas as a result of the ending of HMR funding.

The council said it has included five areas in the bid after an "extensive review of the current picture in Liverpool" and "taking into account the strict criteria set down for the funding". The five areas include:

  • Anfield and Breckfield – Phases three to five
  • Easby estate in Kirkdale – Phases one to five
  • Welsh Streets – Phases one and two
  • Edge Hill – Phases one to three
  • Picton – Phases one to three

The council said all of these areas meet the criteria, which states that funding must focus on streets and areas which are between 10% and 50% occupied and which suffer from the worst dereliction.

The cost of acquiring homes in these areas, re-housing residents, demolishing properties and preparing sites for rebuild by private developers is £21.06m.

The council added that because any transition fund awarded by the Government has to be match-funded by local authorities, it is bidding for £10.53m.

Cllr Ann O'Byrne, Liverpool City Council's cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: "It's absolutely vital that we continue to fight for any funding we can get for housing renewal in this city. We need to keep pressure on the government, identify new funding sources, work with communities and private partners and make positive decisions for the areas which need it the most.

"The scrapping of HMRI funding was a huge, huge blow to this city, and even if we are successful in securing this funding, it will be a drop in the ocean compared to what we have lost. The narrow criteria also meant there were a number of areas in the city not eligible for this funding. But I want to reassure those residents not included in this bid that we will continue to work tirelessly to secure funding from other sources.

"There are many challenges ahead, but this bid for transition funding reaffirms our commitment to do everything we can to improve life our most vulnerable residents, and forms part of our wider plans to drive forward housing renewal in this city."

The council said Merseyside's Pathfinder programme is one of five in the country identified as "most challenged" by the Government, making the region eligible to bid for a share of the £30m transition funding.

As well as stipulating that funds should be focused on streets or areas with between 10% and 50% occupation rates, the criteria when applying for funding also states:

  • Extensive intervention has to have already been made in the areas using HMR grant funding
  • It cannot be used to open up new phases of acquisition and possible demolition

The council said the strict criteria meant other areas it looked at, including phases six and seven of Anfield and Breckfield and phase three of the Welsh Streets, are not eligible for HMR transition funding and could not, therefore, be included in the city's bid.

The council is now exploring longer term solutions for these areas, so that regeneration and housing renewal can continue.

A decision on the award of HMR transition funding is expected to be made by the Government in August.

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