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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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150 people on waiting list to move into Barrow Island tenements

MORE than 100 people have signed up to move into some of Barrow’s most iconic buildings which are undergoing renovation.

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE Gary Scott, from Block and Estate Management, which is refurbishing 500 flats on Barrow Island

Some 150 people are on the waiting list to move into the Barrow Island tenements, which are being refurbished as part of a multi-million pound renovation scheme.

Twenty flats have already been completed by construction company Block and Estate Management, with 500 properties in Steamer Street, Schooner Street and the surrounding areas due to be revamped.

Project manager Gary Scott said he hopes to be able to boost the community through the refurbishment.

“This is not just construction work, we are rebuilding a community,” he said.

“There is a very strong community feeling here and we are trying to build on that.’’

The government has allocated £3.4m to fund renovation work on the tenement flats. The grant will be used as a loan which has been match funded by three property companies. Last week the Evening Mail reported that Dave Armistead was resigning from his role as the chairman of the Barrow Island Big Lottery steering group, which has been tasked with spending a separate £1m lottery grant to boost the community. He said the flats should be demolished rather than refurbished, and claimed residents didn’t want the refurbishment.

But Mr Scott countered that residents of the flats had, in fact, been positive about the scheme, and that knocking them down was never a possibility.

He said: “These buildings are protected by English Heritage. We are allowed to do very little to the outside of them. They are grade II listed and grade II* listed.”

Once renovated, the flats will be let out by property company Acorn Property Lets, who are managing the properties.

The project will also involve the regeneration of the communal areas of the flats, with an architectural competition being held for different design ideas, and Mr Scott said he believed the properties would be suitable for many types of tenants.

Have your say

Has any so called supporters of this scheme every actually lived in a Barrow Island tenement flat. If they said the were demolishing them and building modern apartments, then that would have been the better option. I have lived there and I can give three reasons why this is/was a really bad idea:
1. The modernisation has seen the rents more than doubled, which has done nothing but priced a lot of people out of the affordable option of a Barrow Island flat. I know people there who would like nothing more than to see their flat modernised, but it is not an option as they wouldn't be able to afford the major price increase in rent.
2. I cant believe these tenements are listed, these are the last of these type of tenements in existence in the country as everywhere else they were demolished and rightly so. But all that's happened here is that they have tarted them up, there is a saying, not a very profound saying, but one that applies in this case nevertheless and that is "You cant polish a turd".
3. The flats, as they were, served a purpose in the community, they provided fast affordable accommodation for the poorest in our community, people who without this option would find themselves homeless or young couples who would live there while saving for a deposit on a house and lets face it young couples are already priced out of the housing market and this wont help them. We haven't particularly had a problem with homeless people in the borough and its rare these days, but there will be more homeless people as a result of this development and who are the winners? only the developers and Acorn Property lettings, who appear to have used government funding to create a cash cow for themselves.

Posted by Steve on 3 March 2013 at 12:13

It is good to see that some of our history is not being raised to the ground as in the past when good housing stock has been demolished instead of spending the money on updating. How much has that cost the Borough and the rate payers. It makes a lot more sense to renovate and bring them back to life so they can be used once more to house families and single people who need somewhere decent to live, while providing jobs for our local people

Posted by Scheme supporter on 26 February 2013 at 22:34

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