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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Town housing overhaul criticised
Plans to demolish 1,500 houses in Middlesbrough may have to be changed - just a week after councillors gave the scheme the go ahead.

Concerns from locals and councillors have been highlighted about the regeneration scheme in the town centre.

The town's mayor, Ray Mallon, announced the proposals for a 150m revamp earlier this month. It will also involve building 750 new homes.

Middlesbrough Council will now review the plans at a meeting next week.

The scheme covers neighbourhoods in central and west Middlesbrough and almost half of the houses due to be bulldozed are empty.

Mr Mallon said the aim was to match housing to demand and stop people moving out of the area.

'Selling homes'

But Gresham ward councillor Ken Walker said: "I'm about regeneration, this is about demolition. We are actually talking about 1,500 homes. We are taking out basically a community.

"If previous demolition policies have been such a success, why then do we have so many housing voids in areas such as Grove Hill.

"With the announcement that almost 40 streets and roads in Gresham ward are earmarked for destruction, this has already effectively prevented many people selling their homes."

The council plans to buy about 1,500 properties in the Gresham area and replace them with new homes, meaning most housing between Princes Road, Borough Road and Union Street will be cleared.

Mr Walker added: "I would urge restraint allowing further consideration to be given to invest in many more of the existing properties."


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