£32 million roads scheme set to move closer
PLANS for a £32 million improvement and widening of a
major route in North Liverpool are set to take a major step forward. A new
plan which could lead to the regeneration of the Welsh Streets has been unveiled
by Liverpool City Council.
The Council's Cabinet is being asked to approve plans to enter a 6 month
exclusivity agreement with development company Place First, during which time
they will carry out surveys and investigations before developing a new master
plan and submitting a planning application.
The firm is a specialist development company with a proven track record in
converting 19th Century housing into high quality homes that meet modern
standards whilst retaining their original character and layout.
It is hoped a significant proportion of the 300 homes can be refurbished, with
some knocked '3 in to 2' to make them larger and appeal to
Those in a really poor condition and too costly to repair will be demolished
with the possibility of creating community open space and new properties in
The move follows a decision in January 2015 by the then Secretary of State Eric
Pickles to overturn his independent planning inspector's approval for a scheme
which would have seen 271 homes be replaced by 154 new houses, along with 37
refurbished terraced properties.
Mr 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.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "All we have ever done is try to do
what the residents have told us and it's important to remember 80% of them
backed the original plans for this area. As a result of the prevarication over
this scheme from different outside interest groups we have lost a £13 million
Government grant. However, given that the Government has changed the planning
rules we need to find a way forward in order to get this area sorted out as soon
as possible and I am pleased we have been able to find a partner that is willing
to look into taking on the Welsh Streets. The residents of the Welsh Streets
have been in limbo for years after the Coalition Government axed the Housing
Market Renewal Initiative. To add insult to injury, Eric Pickles then overturned
his own planning inspector's decision on a subsequent scheme despite it being
supported by the vast majority of the local community. PlaceFirst have a great
track record in regenerating old houses and I know they are genuinely excited
about what they can do in the Welsh Streets. I want them to crack on with the
detailed survey as quickly as possible. We've demonstrated with the regeneration
of Anfield and our Homes for a Pound scheme that we are leading the way in
finding imaginative ways of retaining properties where it is viable to do so."
Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said:- "We took some of
the residents to Accrington to see some of the other projects that Place First
are working on and the feedback we had from them was really positive. They are
really focused on creating a new community for the area which has a long term
future and I am really confident that we can come up with a scheme that delivers
the best of the old and the new. I would like to thank residents for their
patience, resilience and support over the last few years and sticking with the
area when some of them are in poor health as a result of the conditions they are
David Smith Milne, Managing Director and founder of Place First said:-
"Place First is really excited about this project. The Welsh Streets are on the
doorstep of one of Europe's most exciting and culturally distinctive Cities.
They are also walking distance from 2 of England's best public parks, and have
the benefit of highly rated local schools within a short walk. Liverpool, like
everywhere else, really needs good quality and expertly managed homes for
private rent. Remodelling these Victorian properties creates an opportunity to
deliver some of the most distinctive and exciting family rental homes in the
City. We are looking forward to working alongside Liverpool City Council and
local residents groups to develop and deliver this project."
Irene Milson, Chair of the Welsh Streets Community Association, said:-
"This community has been waiting a long time for new homes and it is extremely
frustrating that the previous scheme wasn't approved by the Government We await
with interest the details of this new set of proposals and will make our
decision based on progress over the next few months."
The report will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday, 5 February 2016.