Final countdown to housing plan

Steve Swithin, David Morris and Steven Ogden with a copy of The Visitor outside the boarded-up houses in the West End.
Steve Swithin, David Morris and Steven Ogden with a copy of The Visitor outside the boarded-up houses in the West End.
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A housing regeneration scheme seven years in the making could finally be about to happen.

Final legal hurdles have been cleared for the much-maligned Chatsworth Gardens development in the West End.

Lancaster City Council says it is pressing developers PlaceFirst to begin work on refurbishing rundown old terraced houses to create 92 new homes.

Some of the council-owned houses on Albert Road, Chatsworth Road, Westminster Road and Balmoral Road are in a terrible state of repair.

They were left to rot for years after the scheme stalled in the recession when original developers Places For People pulled out, after first being granted planning permission in 2008.

New planning permission for phase one of 51 homes, available for rent, was given in February 2014 after the Government granted £1.9m funding.

A spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: “Revisions to legal documents to ensure public money being spent on the project is properly protected has prevented work starting on the ground.

“Now, after extensive dialogue with the Homes and Communities Agency and Lancashire County Council, everything is in place to enable the developer, PlaceFirst, to set a start date for work.”

Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said: “The length of time we have had to wait to see the development of the Chatsworth Gardens project has simply not been acceptable in my view. I will not be satisfied until I see contractors moving in to deliver this important project for our community.”

David Morris MP recently asked questions in Parliament about how much the scheme has cost local taxpayers.

We will have more on the Chatsworth Gardens scheme in next week’s Visitor.