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Liverpool City Council have until the end of today – Thursday 27th February to appeal against Eric Pickles’ decision to block proposals to demolish most of the Welsh Streets in Liverpool’s Princess Park.
The Planning Application from Plus Dane that threatened to demolish all but 40 houses on the fiercely contested site was blocked by the Secretary of State Eric Pickles in January. The Welsh Streets Home Group and other local campaigners sadly and reluctantly accepted the now blocked development proposals in 2012 following a campaign to save more of the site, it’s community, and its unique sense of place.
The legendary anti-demolition campaign was run by residents in Welsh Streets houses or streets adjoining the demolition zone for eleven years. During this time the (New Labour) Housing Market Renewal Scheme that lead to the deliberate blighting of the area was dropped by the (Coalition) Government in 2011. However the authorities continually rejected offers from the public, from developers and local housing co-ops to buy and repair the houses. Houses that have stood – still apparently saved, but un-repaired for a further four years……and counting.
Community tensions between people who sought new houses, and people who favoured refurbishment have suffered during as a decade of delays. Physical conditions for remaining residents have deteriorated. Permanent tension and worry has left many people desperate for a conclusion of any kind. The council has until tomorrow to lodge an appeal and appeal to have a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s refusal of of planning content. Apparently an appeal may be heard if the Eric Pickles is seen to have exceeded his powers by blocking Plus Dane’s plan.
Our statement to the press today is this –
“We are weary of this situation. Nobody from the Council has bothered to contact us following Pickles shock decision in January. We don’t know what an appeal means for us, how it is decided, what it will cost, or how long it will take. It is impossible to know if an appeal will have any benefit to residents. It is impossible to know if we will be punished further.
At the same time we don’t know what happens if there is no appeal, and we don’t know if the money earmarked to repair or replace houses here has been lost. WSHG have written to the council and Plus offering our support with developing a solution. Requests have been made to ring fence the money until a design solution is found. Once again we call for residents needs to be prioritized and for people in decrepit housing to be provided with decent homes immediately until such time as there is a long term solution on the site. So what next ?”
and how long will it take ?