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Pickles puts brakes on Gateshead home demolitions

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Communities secretary Eric Pickles has issued a notice temporarily halting plans to demolish 291 homes in Gateshead

Pickles has issued an article 25 notice, extending the time in which it has to be decided whether to call in the plans for the demolition of the Gateshead homes, from 21 days to indefinitely.

The homes had originally been earmarked for demolition under the government’s controversial Pathfinder scheme.

A subsequent application, submitted by the Gateshead Regeneration Partnership, asked for the retrospective demolition of 115 houses, three retail units and 14 garages, and for the phased demolition of a further 291 houses and 4 commercial properties.

The Partnership plans to replace these with a housing scheme, built in phases.

Gateshead Council strategic director of development, Paul Dowling, said: ‘We are disappointed that the decision has been made to delay this planning decision.

‘We have long pursued a planned approach to a mix of refurbishment and new build homes in Bensham and Saltwell to create a sustainable community. This can be seen by the 1,250 homes that have already been refurbished. Taken as a whole the replacement proposed equates to no more than five per cent of properties in the area.

“There is a clear need for different types of home in this area and the regenerative impact that they will deliver is obvious.

‘The last thing that the Bensham and Saltwell area needs is another delay. We have a long history of consultation and working with local residents on this issue. The vast majority of local people want an end to delays and a start to construction of good quality family homes. I cannot state strongly enough how much I hope that this latest delay will be a short one.’

This comes after Pickles did the same to plans to demolish 440 houses in Liverpool just weeks earlier.

Pickles decision, last month, to order halting of the demolition of the 440 terraced homes in Liverpool, known as Welsh Streets, was welcomed by campaign group SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

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