Council to challenge Welsh Streets decision

Liverpool City Council is to appeal a decision by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to turn down the proposed regeneration of the Welsh Streets.

In January, the Secretary of State overturned a recommendation from an expert independent Planning Inspector that the scheme be given the green light.

Under the plans – backed by 70 percent of the local community – 271 damp and run down homes were to have been demolished and replaced by 154 new houses. Another 37 terraced properties, including the former home of Beatle Ringo Starr, would have been refurbished.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We are not prepared to stand by and see Eric Pickles ignore local people and his own independent planning inspector.

“The long-suffering residents of the Welsh Streets have now been waiting more than a decade for new homes and we are standing up against this unacceptable political interference from Whitehall and challenging the decision.

“This scheme was carefully developed and supported by the vast majority of local people in a thorough and detailed consultation.”

A public inquiry last summer looked in detail at plans by the council to compulsorily purchase the last eight of the 311 interests needed to deliver phases one and two of the £15 million scheme.

Under the proposals, the new homes for the local community and new residents would have been built to a high standard and will be available for affordable rent and sale, providing a diverse mix of housing for the area designed to be energy efficient and spacious, with many including gardens.

The Welsh Streets plans formed part of the wider regeneration of the Princes Park neighbourhood, with more than 80 percent of the 2,500 properties in the renewal area being retained.

The scheme was approved by the council’s planning committee in August 2013 but called in for public inquiry by the Secretary of State.