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blighted lives ; rat skeleton 2014
Welsh Streets Public Inquiry opens at Cunard Building 10 am Tuesday 17th June
We can work it out …..
Ten years go a regeneration scheme was proposed for Liverpool’s Welsh Streets. It quickly became controversial as residents opposed to the demolition of their homes, organized as the Welsh Streets Home Group (WSHG)
With a membership of residents from the clearance zone, and neighbouring streets, the WSHG have spent a decade communicating about design possibilities that retained more of the existing Welsh Streets. They did surveys and newsletters, helped people write letters, and attended Council meetings. Their mantra was to ask the Council to look at alternatives to demolition for part of the site. After a decade of seeking a compromise, 40 houses in Madryn Street High Park Street and Kelvin Grove were withdrawn from demolition, on the proviso that all the remaining 280 houses would be demolished. It is very disappointing that so few houses escaped demolition, given the thousands of letters written by locals in support of the existing houses. However WSHG accept that saving more houses is unlikely and did not oppose the current application or campaign against it. They felt that after ten years of trying they could achieve no more, and the construction of 150 new houses should begin, allowing people stuck in poor housing to finally arrive in new homes.
This view was not shared by SAVE Britain’s Heritage who have called for the Public Inquiry that opens today (17.6.14) in a move that increases concerns that further delays will be inflicted on hapless residents who have lived with an uncertain future for a decade already.
For further houses to be spared it would take a leap of faith – a change of heart by LCC, their partners Plus Dane, and the approval of residents on the South end of the site, who seek new homes, because their existing walls are crumbling around them. It would also need more money than is currently available.
WSHG research shows that changing the balance of refurbished and new-build properties retains strong support, and if there were more houses spared SAVE and other objectors may then feel satisfied that heritage, place-making, and choice had been better represented in the final outcome and exit the situation allowing work to begin on site.
The priority for Welsh Streets Home Group, and many of the clearance area residents, is to press for the speedy delivery of new and refurbished homes. Fears that the Inspector’s recommendations in December may be followed by a time consuming Judicial Review are mounting. WSHG wanted to avoid a Public Inquiry but since it is happening, we will be asking The Inspector to encourage all parties back to the negotiating table in search of an agreement that would allow work to begin on site in 2015 before the allocated funding is withdrawn.
‘Every empty home in the Welsh Streets is an empty dream. It’s a blank space where someone either wanted to stay, or repair, or leave and demolish for redevelopment. In ten long years not one of these dreams has been fulfilled and the space is frozen by the inability of the stakeholders to respect each others wishes. The Welsh Streets have become a vale of tears”
nina edge spokesperson Welsh Streets Home Group