Pickles blocks £15m Welsh Streets plan

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has called the Secretary of State's decision to reject the redevelopment of the Welsh Streets "a kick in the teeth" and "unacceptable, dishonourable and completely perverse".

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, turned down plans for the demolition of 271 houses to make way for 154 new and 37 refurbished homes following a three-week public inquiry held last summer.

In his decision letter, Pickles said he supported arguments put forward by campaign group Save Britain's Heritage. He said: "The Secretary of State is not persuaded that the scale of demolition proposed in this case has been demonstrated to be necessary and that sufficient forms of market testing and options involving more refurbishment have been exhausted."

Anderson issued a strongly-worded statement in response to the decision on Friday and said: "This is yet another kick in the teeth for the long-suffering residents of the Welsh Streets, who have now been waiting more than a decade for new homes.

"I was prepared to abide by the decision of an independent inspector even if it had gone against us, but it is unacceptable, dishonourable and completely perverse for Eric Pickles to continue to ignore local leadership, local people and then hold and pay for an independent public inquiry using taxpayers' money, which he then ignores for naked political posturing.

"Yet again, this Government talks about localism but then interferes in the wishes of local people. It is absolutely appalling and smacks of the very worst type of political interference from Whitehall.

"We will be looking straight away at how we can challenge this dreadful decision."

The council has six weeks to decide if they will be taking the decision to a judicial review.

The proposals rejected by Pickles were the first phase of a project which would have seen the demolition of 400 properties in total, with 40 houses retained in the Welsh Streets, including the birthplace of Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr. The network of streets was initially built in the 1870s for Welsh workers moving to Liverpool.

The streets outlined for redevelopment by the council were Rhiwlas Street, Voelas Street, Kinmel Street, Admiral Street, Gwydir Street and Treborth Street.

Marcus Binney, president of campaign group Save, said: "This is a triple triumph. First for saving the streets where Ringo grew up. Second for recognising that these empty homes can be just as spacious and far outnumber the proposed replacements, and third for recognising the Welsh Streets have value as a model neighbourhood laid out by one of Liverpool's most significant builders. Our appeal to Liverpool Council is simple; let people live in these houses again. We have bought one house and made it a pleasant home. Now the others must follow."

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

These existing houses have shown they have stood the test of time so far. The feature on Tonight on ITV showed what could be achieved with refurbishment of the properties and needing less cash injection. This is not perverse, to demolish them would have been

By Bob Dawson

These houses are not all structurally sound, good condition nor is there evidence there is demand for them in this area, and the independent inspector agreed. Residents time and again have made their support for demolition clear. Pure political posturing by Pickles, which is unfortunately rather typical of the man.

By Cyrus

The merits of the existing housing is one argument. The proposed replacement another…it looks like outdated, suburban, poor quality unsustainable nonsense….

By Graham

It’s clear to see that Marcus Hugh Crofton Binney CBE of Eton College, spent his early childhood living and growing up on these streets! Once again outsider intervention in Liverpool. These old buildings need to be replace with modern housing stock. Though I cant say that the above image shows the new scheme in the best light.

By Housing Bod

Hmm are all these people who are for knocking them down the same person??? Appears so! Personally I would much rather live in one of these refurbed than the rubbish they are building around Wavertree Road now! Its a crying shame! These new houses wont stand test of time! As for posturing if Eric is he is in good company as Joe is v good at this too!

By Ann On

Let’s be honest, this development wasn’t exactly going to rescue this imploding mosh-pit of a city….

By Derek H

It wasnt intended to rescue the city – Derek you a twit!

By Ann On

Congratulations to the SAVE Campaign and local residents who have fought continually to Save The Welsh Streets. The Council would be better placed to stop their quest to create mediocre suburbia in the City Centre. If they truly believe there is a need for the proposed typology (gardens & car parking) then why have they not insured this style of development in the Liverpool Waters Masterplan? The Council and Mayor would be better placed to focus on a more inspired approach to the Welsh Streets…please be brave and make it a positive regeneration story as opposed to another name in the pathfinder graveyard.

By Jess

I feel sorry for the residents the majority of whom support and have been campaigning for the scheme to progress. It is completely unacceptable for outside parties who have little interest in Liverpool continue to interfere in this manner.

By Cyrus

Having lived there for 68 years until 2007 believe I can speak with better authority than those wanting to save them by refurbishment.They were refurbished in the 1970’s under "Housing Action Area" process.This however did not address the ongoing problems of Damp,fungus growing on internal walls & Subsidence, due to the fact that the water table is just inches below them & the Victorian drains are collapsing.Homeowners spent large sums on further DampProof courses & maintenance over the years,to no avail.The houses were built quickly & cheaply WITHOUT FOUNDATIONS hence the water ingress & subsidence. Residents, who for 15 tyears have fought opposition from the Heritage groups, are sick & tired of the Madryn Street house being used as publicity for SAVE and as an EXCUSE for blocking implementation of the plan,which aims to give local residents healthier & better housing and living conditions.

By Mary Huxham MBE

That bit about them being built with foundations is misinformation that someone along the way has peddled and residents and ex-residents hold as gospel. It is not true. Put this misconception aside. Those dwellings were constructed on a hoggin foundation, a structurally acceptable foundation solution. Don’t wield that…expend your efforts on more credible reasons. But yes, Save Britain’s Heritage, and their ilk, need to learn the difference between genuine heritage and keeping hold of decaying housing stock because it makes them feel all fuzzy-wuzzy…

By John Presley

meant WITHOUT foundations…..

By John Presley