Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Blears backs demolition of houses

Toxteth Street
The houses on Toxteth Street will now be demolished

Plans to demolish hundreds of homes as part of a regeneration project in east Manchester have been approved by the government after a public inquiry.

About 550 terraced houses in Toxteth Street, Openshaw, will be bulldozed to make way for a 65m redevelopment of 400 townhouses and a new street layout.

Residents who opposed the project argued the Victorian houses should be renovated rather than destroyed.

But communities secretary Hazel Blears has confirmed the scheme will go ahead.

Many owners in the Toxteth Street neighbourhood had already sold up but there were a number of objectors to the project by regeneration body, New East Manchester.

Residents' bids to get their homes refurbished were rejected by the planning inspector.

'Retain residents'

Regeneration body New East Manchester will now use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to buy up the remaining properties.

Chief Executive Eddie Smith said the CPOs were crucial to the future development of the area.

"The decision on Toxteth Street also comes in the week when the first residents have moved into the new homes being built," said Mr Smith.

"Confirmation of the compulsory purchase orders means we can now continue to turn into action the Neighbourhood Plan for the area.

"It will transform an area with a long-standing history of poor quality housing, a poor environment and problems with crime into a sustainable family-focussed area where people will choose to live."

A public inquiry also backed a 40m centre on Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, which will feature a supermarket, shops, offices and a health and fitness centre.

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