Housing Minister Grant Shapps today called for a temporary reprieve to the demolition of Ringo Starr’s birthplace to ensure the people of Liverpool have a chance to have their say in what happens to what many consider to be a culturally important building.
Mr Shapps has written to Liverpool City Council asking them to halt the planned demolition to give the local community and other interested organisations an opportunity to put forward alternative viable preservation options.
Ringo Starr’s former home is one of a number of properties due to be demolished in the Welsh Streets neighbourhood of Liverpool as part of a wider regeneration programme by the Council.
A special meeting of Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee is expected to take place in January where the demolition of Ringo Starr’s former home and other houses will be considered. If approved the council would give two weeks notice of demolition.
The Government has received a request from SAVE Britain’s Heritage to direct Liverpool City Council to dispose of an area. The Public Request to Order Disposal (PROD) process allows citizens to write to the Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government, requesting action be taken regarding under/ unused land (including buildings) and he may direct that the land be disposed of. SAVE hope that this will help save these houses from demolition. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is considering this request in the normal way.
But this request clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling locally and prompted Mr Shapps to call for a delay to demolition to see if an alternative community-led solution is possible and to ensure that there is sufficient time for a full and proper consideration of SAVE Britain’s Heritage request.
Grant Shapps said:
Any regeneration project will generate strong feelings. But when what many people consider to be a culturally important building - such as the birthplace of the drummer of the world’s most famous band - is at risk then feelings are going to be even stronger.
That’s why before a single bulldozer rumbles along Madryn Street I want to ensure that every option has been considered. In particular I want local community groups to have the opportunity to put forward viable proposals to preserve this historic house. This gives an opportunity to look at imaginative reuse of terraced housing - which has proved popular and successful elsewhere. It’s right that the people of Liverpool themselves decide whether they want Ringo Starr’s house to be demolished or to Let It Be.
Notes to editors
- The inner core of Liverpool includes the Welsh streets neighbourhood which is made up of a high proportion of terraced properties built before 1919. The New Heartlands Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Pathfinder and Liverpool City Council have put forward proposals to demolish more than 300 houses in the Welsh Streets neighbourhood and to replace these with new housing.
- The proposed demolition of Welsh streets is still subject to the planning process and application to demolish has been made for prior approval of details under the Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. This will be considered in terms of the proposed method of demolition and details of the proposed restoration of the site. City Council Planning Officers will be submitting a report to a special meeting of the Planning Committee held in public early in the new year.
- The Public Request to Order Disposal (PROD) process originates from S98(1) of the Local government, Planning and Land Act 1980. It allows citizens to write to the Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government, requesting action be taken regarding under/ unused land (including property thereon) owned by certain public bodies (listed in Schedule 16 of the Act, for example local authorities). Where the Secretary of State agrees that the land is under/ unused, and the owner has been unable to put forward a convincing case to justify any other course of action, he may direct that the land be disposed of. The Secretary of State may add certain conditions regarding the timing/ form of disposal, but is not able to direct to whom the land is sold.
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