Uncertainty goes on for Welsh Streets’ future

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Welsh Streets. Pic by JMU Journalism

Welsh Streets. Pic by JMU Journalism

The future of the Welsh Streets remains uncertain after the council has appealed Eric Pickles’ decision to block plans to redevelop the area.

The council had until Friday evening to appeal the decision, made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in January, to overrule a planning inspector who backed the council’s plans for the streets bordering Toxteth and Dingle.

A public inquiry into the council’s regeneration plans for the streets, one of which includes a house where Ringo Starr lived as a child, confirmed the plans should be given the green light. However, MP Pickles blocked the proposals in what Mayor Joe Anderson has called a “politically motivated” and “perverse” decision.

Liverpool Green party officials have expressed their disappointment on their website stating “even flawed plans are better than endless paralysis”.

Local Green Party leader, Councillor John Coyne, told JMU Journalism: “Back in 2013 I wrote to Eric Pickles saying don’t call the decision in because the delay and paralysis has been far too long extended, and the fact that Pickles has overturned the decision is the wrong course of action.

“Now we’ve got further delay because the council has taken six weeks to decide what it’s doing, and it’s exposing residents to yet further delay and uncertainty.

“You’ve got two sides, both equally as stubborn as each other. What should be happening instead is the council and the government working together on a compromise.”

The residents of the streets have been left in limbo for quite some time over the future of the streets.

Councillor Coyne added: “I think the main thing is they have had their lives clouded by uncertainty for more than a decade. Whatever merit there might have been in the redevelopment proposals is insignificant when you put it against that kind of institutional delay in acting.

“So there’s no quick resolution to this, unless the parties decide to put the residents first and to compromise.”

A letter stating Mr Pickles’ reasons for the decision said the proposals were “short sighted as regards the future tourism potential of Madryn Street”.

After confirming the appeal, Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, told the Liverpool Echo: “We are not prepared to stand by and see Eric Pickles ignore local people and his own independent planning inspector.

“The long-suffering residents of the Welsh Streets have now been waiting more than a decade for new homes and we are standing up against this unacceptable political interference from Whitehall and challenging the decision.”

About Josie Timms, JMU Journalism