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Troubled Estate Could Be Bulldozed

£6 million plans to demolish and rebuild an area of Coventry that has been compared to Beirut have been unveiled by the new owners of the city’s council houses.

Tenants now under the Whitefriars Housing Group aare being asked for their views on the radical scheme to bulldoze up to 130 houses.

The crime black-spot, centring around Guild Road and Pridmore Road in Foleshill have caused problems for the police and housing officers for years.

Many of the houses on the estates have been boarded up, and the streets were a virtual no-go area for law-abiding residents. The lay-out of the estate makes it vulnerable to crime, according to experts.

In 1998 fire crews were regularly being pelted with stones when they were called out to incidents, and children have said they were frightened of gangs roaming the area.

Community efforts to kick out the drug dealers and arsonists have had some impact, but it is believed that many crimes still go unreported.

Few people want to live in the area, and the number of empty homes has been steadily increasing.

The four-year project, backed by Single Regeneration Budget funding, will be carried out by Whitefriars, along with Orbit Housing Association once residents have been consulted.

Whitefriars has begun a consultation process to ensure that tenants can make informed decisions about the estate's future. Every household will receive a booklet outlining the issues involved.

Whitefriars North executive director Alison Hadden said:

"The estate has been faced with a lot of problems over recent years and we feel that they can only be remedied by demolition of some of the homes there.

"We have tried improving properties in an effort to attract families into them, but there are still too many that are empty.

"What we are proposing is radical, but has been the subject of a great deal of thought and planning. Now we want the input of tenants."

Following the initial consultation, a report will be prepared for consideration by Whitefriars and Foleshill Regeneration Board, before a decision is made at the end of October.

If the scheme gets the go ahead, work is expected to begin in late 2001 and be completed in 2005.

Ms Hadden said:

"Consultation is just the first step in a long process and involving tenants in this way is something we intend to do with all future developments.

“Their support will give us the opportunity to create a better future for the estate."

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