Friday, 17 June 2011

New Blow to Welsh Streets Demolition Plans

More good news today. The Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has responded to a request by SAVE and ruled that demolition plans for Madryn Street and the other Welsh Streets should be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The council will now be required to submit a new, full, planning application for demolition. Permitted development rights - which the council was using to fast-track demolition - have been suspended and the controversial plans will now be subject to the full scrutiny of the EIA process. Most importantly, the council will now be required to properly examine alternatives to demolition, including renovation and refurbishment, something that it has so far refused to do. With permitted development rights suspended under EIA, it will be possible for local people and other objectors to scrutinise plans and to challenge the principle of demolition, rather than simply the method of demolition.
This is a massively important decision which could spell the end of fast-tracked mass demolitions. At last, Liverpool Council’s draconian approach to flattening neighbourhoods without full planning scrutiny, has been challenged. This will finally force the council to look at alternatives to demolition and we hope that this will open the way for individuals, housing co-ops and developers to take on and renovate these houses and reverse years of council-sponsored decline.
In a press statement, planning specialist and Pathfinder resident Jonathan Brown added this: ‘It has been obscene to see authorities acquire, evict, devalue and demolish thousands of Victorian terraced houses without even submitting a full planning application, simply so the land they stand on can be handed to development driven quangos for private profit.

For the sake of over twenty thousand people on Liverpool's waiting list, and millions more in acute housing need across Britain, we must hope this drives away the long shadow cast by the great housing market renewal scandal, and will lead to the renovation of thousands of good, solid Victorian terraces written-off by Pathfinder as obsolete.'

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