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SAVE salutes Pickles' move to halt Pathfinder II

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SAVE Britain’s Heritage has welcomed Eric Pickles’ order halting Liverpool Council’s controversial decision to allow the demolition of 440 houses

The Department for Communities and Local Government issued an Article 25 order preventing any work to the site within hours of Liverpool Council’s decision yesterday to grant planning permission to housing association Plus Dane Group.

Designed by Triangle Architects, the contentious proposals would see 440 terraced houses spread over 12 streets flattened and replaced by just 220 low density houses. The scheme has been likened to the Labour government’s now-ditched Pathfinder Housing Market Renewal Programme which came in for heavy criticism due to the swathes of habitable homes it proposed bulldozing.

Clem Cecil, director of SAVE said: ‘We hope Eric Pickles will do what it takes to stop scarce public money being spent removing even scarcer public housing. The prospect of a call in should focus minds – further delay helps no-one, least of all local people.’

The streets – known as the Welsh Streets as many were built by Welsh migrant workers and named after locations in Wales – have already seen many of the terraced homes bought and boarded up under the Pathfinder programme which saw 1,200 residents leave the area.

Cecil said: ‘This is not localism, it is holding people to ransom. Plus Dane should be ashamed of themselves for the waste they have wrought and for playing with the expectations of their tenants.’

‘Their proposals not only contravene national policy on many levels, they detract from the culture and heritage of Liverpool.’

Eric Pickles now has 21 days to decide whether or not to launch a full public inquiry into the site.


Previous story (AJ 24.07.13)

Pathfinder II: Liverpool gives go-ahead to flatten 440 houses

Liverpool Council has controversially decided to allow the demolition of 440 houses in the inner city area of Toxteth

The authority’s planning committee voted to approve an application by housing association Plus Dane to demolish 12 streets of terraced houses, in a move which has been compared to the unpopular Pathfinder scheme.

The area will be redeveloped to provide 150 new houses, with outline permission for a further 70 homes, while 40 of the existing houses will be refurbished. This represents a net loss of 220 or potentially 290 homes on the site.

However, it is understood the imminent destruction of the Welsh Streets – so named as the terraces were built by Welsh immigrant workers and named after villages and locations in Wales – has been halted by an Article 25 order issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government this afternoon.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles must now decide whether he calls for a public enquiry into the scheme.

The planning decision was slammed by SAVE Britain’s Heritage director Clem Cecil who said: ‘We have seen the failures of Pathfinder, and be in no doubt – this is Pathfinder continued. [The programme] is a destructive, cynical policy that divides communities. We will be seeking a public enquiry to look at the planning permission granted today.’

SAVE owns a house on the site at 21 Madryn Street which it bought to show the viability of the housing stock on the Welsh Streets. If demolition plans are approved then SAVE will receive a compulsory purchase order to vacate the property, which the organization has said it will challenge.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • For clarity, Phase A involves 279 demolitions with 154 new build replacements and 37 refurbishments. It is intended that Phase B residents will move into these new houses, and once a viable scheme has been worked up for Phase B, the remaining 160 properties will be demolished and replaced with up to 73 new builds. There is no possiblity of a net loss of 290 as suggested.

    Nearly 80% of the terraced homes in the neighbourhood have been retained and improved through investment programmes. The Welsh Streets was identified within this wider area as having the poorest overall quality of homes due to the size of the plots, the density of the buildings and their poor structural conditions. The existing houses are widely acknowledged as being too small for family housing and all have already been refurbished in the 1970's, but the damp and structural problems remain.

    The density of new build housing is 44.2 dwellings per hectare, which is at the upper end of 'urban core' densities identified in Liverpools Core Strategy SP15. This is not 'low density' housing as suggested by SAVE.

    Regarding SAVE's comment on localism, it should be noted that their petition to save Welsh Streets contains 862 signatures, with c.84 of these (less than 10%) being from the Liverpool area . This is acknowledged in the planning committee report. It should also be noted that in the last consultation event in September 2012, 71% of people who completed feedback forms were in favour of the plans with only 8% not being in favour. The remaining 21% answered that they were 'maybe' in favour of the scheme. The local community are overwhelmingly in favour of these new homes.

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