Homes and Shops for a Pound plan unveiled

A further 150 empty properties are set to be brought back into use in a major expansion of Liverpool’s Homes for a Pound scheme.

It follows the success of a pilot initiative, involving properties around Granby Four Streets and Arnside Road. They are being brought back into use by people who live or work in Liverpool that have bought them for £1 on condition that they bring them up to decent homes standard and do not sell them for five years.

A report to the council’s Cabinet on Thursday 2 April is recommending the introduction of Homes For a Pound Plus focused on empty terraced homes off Smithdown Road in Picton. The scheme will be split into five separate phases based upon condition and geography in order to manage demand.

The city council will carry out remedial works on the properties that are in a particularly poor condition to make sure that they are viable for people to work on, and will also look at introducing a financial assistance scheme for those who do not have the money to hand to carry out the refurbishments.

In addition, the council is to also explore offering a number of vacant shop units that it owns along Smithdown Road as part of a Shops for a Pound scheme which would see them sold or leased to businesses who can invest in them and bring them back into use.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We had overwhelming interest in our pilot Homes for a Pound scheme and those projects are now starting to come to fruition, transforming run down properties into beautiful family homes.

“Now that we know that this type of scheme is a viable way of bringing empty homes back into use, we are going to expand it significantly and also looking at using a similar model to bring vacant shop units back into use as well.

“This is just one of a number of innovative schemes that the council and its partners are using to drive up the standard of housing in the city, tackling blight and regenerating areas that had been neglected for far too long.

“This part of Picton is already being transformed through the creation of the new Archbishop Blanch High School and this scheme will help further improve the area and make sure it becomes a thriving community again.”

 VIDEO: Mayor Joe Anderson talks about Homes for a Pound Plus 

The homes that will be targeted as part of the scheme are located in and around Britannia Avenue, Altcar Avenue, Childwall Avenue, Dorset Avenue, Bird Street, Richardson Street, Garrick Street, Tunstall Street and Webster Road.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “This is part of our commitment to bring into use another 2,000 properties in addition to the 1,000 we have already and completed and the 1,000 we are on with tackling.

“Driving up the quality, standard and range of properties in the city is a priority, but we know that this scheme is not a panacea to dealing with empty homes. It is just one of a range of things that we are doing in partnership with housing associations and developers to make sure that people have a choice of good quality properties to live in, whatever their budget.”

The current Homes for a Pound waiting list – which saw 1,000 people apply in April 2013 for one of the 20 pilot properties – will be reviewed and there will be an opportunity for new applicants to express an interest in due course.