I thought it was a late April Fool when I read that Stoke council are selling off houses for just a pound but it’s true and now that I’ve read more about it, I think it’s a great idea.
Basically, the houses that are being sold off are in a bit of a rundown area and they’re in need of lots of TLC. The council are selling them on the condition that the buyers agree to do up the houses, live in them for at least five years and commit to being a part of the community. They’re also only available to people who have lived in the area for at least five years with no assets and no property already owned by them. The council are even offering loans to help with the renovations.
What a fantastic way to regenerate an area and definitely something that other councils should be considering in my opinion.
I live on a new housing estate in a lovely seaside town but not far from where we live is an area that has long since been considered to be a ‘bad area’ of the town. Not necessarily because of the people who lived there (although that was a factor) but more because of the fact that it was a council estate that the council allowed to become very run down. For whatever reason, at some point a few years ago, a couple of the houses were left empty and they ended up with boarded up windows and doors. Gradually, as people moved out of properties, the council didn’t move new tenants in – they just boarded up the houses and left them empty. It got to a point where there were more houses boarded up than had people living in them and recently, the majority of the houses were demolished ready for a new housing development to be built.
Now the people who used to live in the houses have been moved on to other areas in the surrounding towns and I’m sure that the majority of them won’t be able to afford to move back when the new houses are built.
Knocking the houses down and starting again must have been on the agenda with our council for a long time – why else would they have not replaced the tenants in the properties when they left? But they could have done something similar to the scheme in Stoke and allowed the people living in the houses the chance to buy and renovate them rather than demolish them and start again with a new housing development that these same people probably can’t afford.
These people would have took pride in their area once again and helped to rebuild the community spirit in an area where many of them have grown up. Why should they be moved on to other areas just for the council to knock down their homes and make a profit selling the land to a developer?
OK, rant over.