Billy returns to new-look home

A former eyesore that became the target of anti-social behaviour has been transformed into a family home as part of a £240,000 scheme to improve a North Liverpool community.

Cobalt Housing has spent £60,000 buying the property from a private landlord and renovating it after it was damaged by fire and became “the worst house” on Beversbrook Road, Norris Green.

The three-bedroom property had stood empty for years but, using local labour, has now been converted into a two-bed house to meet local demand.

It comes after Cobalt also spent £180,000 refurbishing and converting two three bedroom houses on nearby Cottesbrook Road into four one-bed flats – again using Liverpool-based social enterprise Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC) to deliver the transformation.

City Council Cabinet Member for Housing Ann O’Byrne joined staff from Cobalt and partners to celebrate completion at Beversbrook Road.

And grandfather Billy Goulding, aged 68, who lived in the house with his late wife Pauline and children Yvonne and Jeff, between 1971 and 1998, officially launched the new-look home.

Billy, who now lives in Croxteth Park, said: “I’m amazed at the transformation. When we lived there, we were city council tenants and then we bought the house in the 1980s. It was such a shame to see what happened to it after we left, because it was a great community and a great house.

“I really applaud what Cobalt and the city council have done because it’s what the area needs and it’s going to provide somebody with a home. My wife used to say that if she could have moved the house with us, she would have.”

The property has been completely renovated, including new windows, doors, kitchen, bathroom, plaster work and rendering.

Councillor Peter Mitchell, who is also a Cobalt board member, said it had gone from being “the best house on the street” when Billy lived there, to the “worst house” when it sat empty.

He added: “It’s now become one of the best houses on the street again, using local labour, taking it back into social ownership.”

Councillor O’Byrne said: “I was very pleased to join Mr Goulding at this transformed house. One of the Mayoral priorities is bringing houses back into use and Cobalt are not only playing a part in that but helping to improve the area.  It is also good that it is a local firm has carried out this work.”

Cobalt Housing Managing Director Alan Rogers said the scheme underlined the landlord’s commitment to improving Norris Green.

He added: “This property caused a blight on the local community and led to problems with anti-social behaviour. Not only have we worked with the city council to address this, but converting it to a two-bedroom home allows us to meet local housing need.

“As is the case with the flats on Cottesbrook Road, we’re providing smaller, more affordable homes that people want. This is particularly important given that many are telling us that larger properties are unaffordable to them because of the Government’s bedroom tax, introduced a year ago.”

The 5,800 Norris Green, Fazakerley and Croxteth homes owned by Cobalt Housing are all former city council properties that the association took over 10 years ago.

Pictured(L to R) Councillor O’Byrne, Mr Goulding, Councillor Barry Kushner and Alex Andani, services manager at Cobalt Housing at the transfomed house.