£2m housing boost

DOZENS of residents living in abandoned streets have been given a boost after Hartlepool was awarded £2m of Government funding.

The run-down Carr Street and Hopps Street areas will now be demolished after Hartlepool Borough Council successfully applied for funding to help finish the housing market renewal programme (HMR) scheme.

Councils must match-fund the grant and the streets to benefit include Carr Street, Rodney Street, Richardson Street, Hopps Street, Blake Walk, Jobson Street and Hart Lane.

Work is expected to start next year.

The majority of the 207 houses are empty and boarded up ahead of demolition. But there are still people living in about 50 of the properties who will now be relocated.

The current Government axed Labour’s HMR scheme as part of its comprehensive spending review but as a result of lobbying from local authorities a transition fund was set up.

Tees Valley has been awarded £6.2m and that will help residents in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, cabinet member for housing: “This is good news for Hartlepool.

“It is encouraging that the Government has accepted that their original decision to abandon this scheme half-way through was short-sighted and could have had a devastating effect on residents, so I welcome this reversal.

“In Hartlepool we have a proven track record of breathing new life into out-dated housing areas when we are given the appropriate funding.

“I am confident that we can now move forward and complete this long-awaited regeneration scheme.

“Since the Government withdrew housing funding as part of its spending review, there has been a great deal of uncertainty about this area. But we can all look forward to a brighter future.

“As a council we have never given up on revitalising this area and as a result we are in a position to match-fund the amount the Government has allocated.”

Conservative group leader Ray Wells said: “The town has secured a good proportion of the money made available nationally.”

Across the region 536 properties will be flattened, the sites grassed over and the use of the land will be subject to consultation.

Through Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), councils submitted a bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government for a share of the £35.5m pot.

TVU board member Alison Thain said: “The funding will have a positive impact on local neighbourhoods by creating strong communities and on the local economy by removing apparent barriers to private sector investment.”