Welsh Streets regeneration plans approved - but government may call inquiry
Next phase in long-running saga of homes in Dingle
Plans for a major regeneration of the city’s derelict Welsh Streets have been approved – but the government may call a public inquiry
Dozens of people who have campaigned both for and against Plus Dane’s £15m plans to demolish hundreds of homes and build new ones turned out at the town hall for the meeting.
The approved plans would see the demolition of up to 280 houses and 152 new ones built in the Dingle.
Passionate pleas were made by both sides, with pro-bid campaigners saying they had been forced to live in rat-infested, squalid conditions.
In turn, objectors said they did not necessarily oppose the demolitions, but believed up to 40 or 50 homes extra to the 40 to be refurbished – including Ringo Starr’s former Madryn Street home – could be saved from the wrecking ball.
But council planners said those proposals were not on the table, and could not be considered.
This afternoon the Department for Communities and Local Government issued an “Article 25 Direction”, which stops the council issuing the planning approval.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles must now decide if he wants to call a public inquiry.
A number of supporters spoke at the meeting, with emotions running high.
Welsh Streets resident Paula McInerney said she had medical conditions that were being worsened by living in a deteriorating house, adding: “Unless you have to live in rat, slug and cockroach infested houses then you’ve no idea what we are having to put up with.
“We are living in Victorian conditions, some of us are living in Third World conditions that are slowly killing people.
“I require a heart and lung transplant and before I die I just want to live in a warm, cosy house with a garden.”
Supporters of the plans said some objectors were not local and were trying to dictate to people what homes they should live in.
But the objectors said the plans relied too much upon demolition, and that they would attempt to force a public inquiry if they were pushed through.
Clementine Cecil, of Save Britain’s Heritage, told the committee “just because some objections are national or international doesn’t mean they don’t count”.
City heritage expert Jonathan Brown said the plans were “a triumph of managed decline."
Speaking after the meeting, council cabinet member for housing Cllr Ann O’Byrne said: “We hope Save have listened to the determination of residents to have quality homes.”
Kelvin Grove residents withdrew their objections when the street was taken out of the demolition plans, but said they still wished more could be saved.
Nina Edge, said: “We’re sorry for people who had to leave their homes who wanted to stay, who didn’t get the same result.”