Appeal to Welsh Streets decision to preserve 'Beatles heritage'

Madryn Street Image copyright Google
Image caption The streets in Toxteth gained their name as they were built and lived in by Welsh workers in the 19th Century

A decision to halt the demolition of Liverpool's Welsh Streets area has been challenged by the city council.

Plans to knock down 271 terraced houses in Toxteth and replace them with 154 new homes were blocked by the government last month in order to preserve its "Beatles heritage".

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles vetoed plans as the site includes Ringo Starr's birthplace.

The £15m Welsh Streets project had been recommended after a public inquiry.

'Unacceptable interference'

The scheme was approved by the council's planning committee in August 2013 but was called in for a public inquiry by Mr Pickles.

Assistant mayor and Liverpool City Council cabinet member for housing Ann O'Byrne said: "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.

"This scheme was carefully developed and supported by the vast majority of local people in a thorough and detailed consultation."

Under the plans, The Beatles' drummer's former home at 9 Madryn Street was due to be refurbished, along with 36 other properties, although other terraced houses on the road would be demolished.

A letter giving the reasons for Mr Pickles' decision said the proposals were "short sighted as regards the future tourism potential of Madryn Street".

Other reasons given included:

  • the wider heritage value of the Welsh Streets area
  • the impact on nearby listed buildings and conservation area
  • design issues including local character, history and distinctiveness
  • national policy on bringing back empty homes into residential use

Liverpool City Council had until the end of Friday to appeal against Mr Pickle's decision.

As well as Madryn Street, the scheme encompasses Wynnstay Street, Voelas Street, Treborth Street, Rhiwlas Street, Powis Street, Pengwern Street, Kinmel Street and Gwydir Street.

Sources differ on how long Starr lived at Madryn Street before his family moved to nearby Admiral Grove, where he was living as a teenager shortly before The Beatles shot to fame.

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