Tuesday, 6 December 2011

George Clarke and Channel 4 Catch Up with the Liverpool Housing Scandal

This blog has been in hibernation for a while, but our Madryn Street project is progressing well. We are currently finalising proposals to fully refurbish the SAVE house and we hope to start work early next year. Meanwhile our house guardians continue to improve the property - and seem very happy living there.

It was excellent to see the first of last night's new Channel 4 'Great British Property Scandal' series featuring plenty of footage of Madryn Street - and the Welsh Streets area in general. Click here to watch again. Tonight's episode features the SAVE house and its tenants - click here.

Politically, a lot has been happening since the late summer. While Liverpool City Council has completely failed to produce the Environmental Impact Assessment it needs to proceed with any application to demolish the Welsh Streets, the government has launched a £71m bailout fund for councils to help people stuck in Pathfinder areas. The ministerial statement from Grant Shapps is strongly worded to warn councils off using the funds for further demolition but we remain worried more destruction may follow. Knowing how determined Liverpool Council is to see the Welsh Streets bulldozed, we fear that money from the rescue fund could be used to flatten rather than refurbish these houses.

The problem, as George Clarke showed in the first episode of the new series, is that councils and housing associations in post-HMR areas have shown themselves to be incapable of initiating any refurbishment programmes. SAVE believes the only hope of breaking the cycle of neglect is for council land banks to be broken up and for selective housing stock to be disposed of to other parties - under strict conditions such as time-limits for renovation and guarantees of affordable rent.

Could the tide be turning? Make sure you join the Channel 4 campaign.

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