£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
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
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."