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Locals rally against plans to list Erskine's Byker Wall estate

Local residents have attacked English Heritage's plans to list Ralph Erskine's celebrated Byker Wall in Newcastle.

The community group - led by ward councillor and chair of housing George Allison - has demanded that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport dismiss English Heritage's recommendation for the estate to become Grade II-listed.

The group is furious that the change of status will affect residents' rights to make changes to their homes, including restrictions on satellite dishes.

'This is an absolutely crazy idea, ' Allison told the AJ. 'I don't have a problem with turning the whole estate into a conservation area but to list it would be completely over the top.

'The Byker Estate is unique - there's no doubt about that. But to list it simply because of Erskine's architectural genius is absolute madness. It will get in the way of basic and essential improvements.

'It will take a lot of changes to the existing proposals before I am persuaded to support the idea, ' he added.

However, the DCMS insisted that any change in status would not adversely affect residents of the estate.

'The idea of listing is not to keep every building in aspic, ' a spokesman said. 'The system is there to highlight to locals and developers the quality of the building.

'All it is for is to ensure that the estate should be saved if demolition is on the cards, ' he added.

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