Families back plan to sell cleared land in Hanley and Cobridge
LAND cleared of homes in a doomed regeneration programme could be offered to developers to help breath fresh life into "forgotten" neighbourhoods.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is considering proposals to sell off sites in Hanley and Cobridge to private developers.
Under the plans – to be discussed by the cabinet this week – Hanley's Bucknall New Road, Dresden Street and Ludlow Street clearance areas will be put up for sale.
The largest site is the 10-acre former Churchill China plot, in Waterloo Road, sandwiched between Cobridge and the city centre.
The sites – which the council says have a combined value of about £4 million – form part of the incomplete flagship City Waterside project.
Theywere among a series of neighbourhoods identified for redevelopment by the now-defunct Renew North Staffordshire housing programme.
The controversial scheme ended in April last year after more than 2,000 homes were demolished, 7,500 properties were refurbished and just 676 houses were built.
Residents close to the sites have called on the council to push the sales through after becoming tired of living next to the "eyesore" areas.
The sale proposals for the site off Waterloo Road include properties in Douglas Street and Crane Street along with existing houses in Furnival Street's corner with Blackwell's Row.
The plans reveal eight homes in Crane Street and two in Furnival Street remain under private ownership. The rest are council-owned, with most boarded up.
Grandmother-of-three Jean Wood, aged 75, who has lived in Hillary Street, Cobridge, since 1960, said: "I would like to see some houses built on the site as people need new homes. It could help bring some community spirit back to the area."
A resident in Furnival Street, who asked not to be named, said: "The council has allowed this area to be degraded and we have been forgotten.
"We believed our home would be bought and cleared. We were shown images of the new development but nothing has happened."
Various plans for the Churchill site have fallen through over the years after developers shelved proposals.
In Hanley, cleared land between Waterloo Street and Commercial Road could be marketed along with plots off Bucknall New Road and Ludlow Street, Balfour Street and Wellington Road.
Student Lia Wade, aged 16, of Ludlow Street, who lives opposite a row of boarded-up houses, said: Having empty houses devalues properties."
Hairdresser Susan Round, aged 47, said she was forced to move her hairdressing business, Direct Cuts, from Berkeley Street to Waterloo Street 10 years ago because the regeneration scheme killed walk-in trade.
Councillors will be asked to consider options including selling the land with no restrictions, marketing the plots with a covenant, offering the areas to partner agencies or to retain the sites.