Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 08:48 UK

Purchases aimed at improving area

Josephine Rooney in an earlier protest
Josephine Rooney has called for improvements in the area

A city council is bidding to purchase six properties as part of a campaign to renew an inner-city neighbourhood.

The compulsory purchase orders in the Arboretum Square and Leopold Street area of Derby will be considered at a public inquiry.

Josephine Rooney, a campaigner who was jailed for not paying her council tax in protest at the rundown conditions, said the area needed more homeowners.

The council said it was unable to comment as it was a "legal matter".

'Stakeholders' needed

It wants to purchase the houses and transfer them to a Housing Association so they can be renovated and leased.

Mrs Rooney said there were still discarded needles, furniture and debris in streets in the Hartington Street Renewal Area.

She said the area needed more private investment to ensure residents had "a stakeholding in the street".

She said only eight out of 50 houses were privately owned with the remaining houses owned by landlords.

Resident Ruth Waterfield, who has lived in Arboretum Square for 14 years, said the area had a problem with drug users in the past.

She said the current owners should have a chance to clean-up their properties.

Mrs Rooney was jailed in June 2006 after refusing to pay 800 in tax arrears in protest over conditions in the area.

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