New plan for homes

Housing boost

New plans have been put forward to bring 179 homes back into use in the Kensington, Granby and Picton areas of Liverpool.

The Mayor’s Cabinet will be asked to approve proposals on Friday 22 February to breathe new life into the vacant properties in Granby Four Streets, Arnside Road and Webster Triangle East, over the next three years.

The initiatives include a pilot ‘Homesteading’ scheme, which would see up to 20 properties being given to local people for £1. Residents would be expected to refurbish properties to Decent Home Standard, which means they must be in a reasonable state of repair, be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities. They would also be required to live in the property for five years and not sub-let it within that time.

The Homesteading scheme will also see the development of an ‘Own Place’ model, which will see the council transferring vacant properties to The Riverside Group, who will refurbish them and offer them for sale at 25% less than market value. The model has already proved to be a success in other parts of the city, with The Riverside Group bringing 250 properties back into use.

Under the plans, small groups of properties may also be sold to private landlords. Those who bid for the properties will need to commit to refurbishing them to Decent Homes Standard, and will also be required to be a member of the council’s CLASS accreditation scheme for landlords.

The plans – which aim to drive up the quality of housing and build stronger, more sustainable neighbourhoods – replace a contract offer made to developer Leader1 Liverpool to deliver housing regeneration in the three areas, which was withdrawn last year.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We think that these plans provide a really good foundation for the future of housing in Granby, Kensington and Picton.

“We want to find innovative ways of bringing properties back into use and attracting people back into our neighbourhoods – whether that’s through offering homes for £1, or working with Registered Providers to refurbish homes and selling them at discounted prices.

“Ultimately, it’s about driving forward housing renewal, investing in the future of our communities and doing everything we can to provide good quality, affordable housing for the people who need it most.

“We have been working closely with the local community over the best way forward for these areas, and I hope that these new proposals will give them certainty that the housing renewal they have waited for, for so long, remains a priority for us.”

The areas covered by the proposals consist mainly of vacant Victorian terraced properties. They are:

Granby, Four Streets in the Granby Renewal Area (City Centre South Zone): The area, in close proximity to the city centre, is dominated by a mix of large Victorian houses and pre-1919 terraces
Webster Triangle East in the Picton Renewal Area (Wavertree Zone): Close to the city centre and Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the area features a majority of pre-1919 terraces.
Arnside Road in the Kensington Renewal Area (Wavertree Zone): The area, close to the city centre, Wavertree Technology Park, Liverpool University and Royal Liverpool Hospital, is again characterised by high density, pre-1919 terraces.

Residents who are interested in the ‘homes for £1’ scheme should call 0151 233 3073 or visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/homesforapound for more information.