Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence



  I am responding to the request by Andrew Bennett MP to indicate problems in inner city areas where the demand for housing is falling with the result.

  In the area when we have established our residents association we have identified the problem and are proposing several solutions which we believe may help solve what is becoming a deeply serious situation.

  The principal problem in Abbey Hey is terraced houses especially in long streets which are straight onto the street without even the smallest garden.

  The tradition of keeping these houses in good condition and the back entries clean and tidy has declined leading to low morale and a fear amongst elderly people who feel threatened by unruly families and roaming gangs of youths.

  The problem is exacerbated by estate agents who have no stake or sympathy with the area concentrating on quick sales to private landlords.

  The landlords similarly have no interest in the area and are letting to tenants who are reliant on housing benefit which is paid to them direct.

  The effect in this area is catastrophic as there are areas of good quality occupied housing which retains a stable population which presents a total collapse in the neighbourhood.

  The object must be to attract a more stable tenant of many of the terraced houses, which if often more affected by economic conditions and employment levels.

  In order to prevent a wholesale exodus of the economically active families we have looked at various options.

  One possibility is to create a form of trust of owner occupiers, the City Council, Housing Associations and private landlords which would meet to look at problems specific to housing, discuss improvements to the area and analyse where there are problems with anti-social and criminal behaviour.

  In many suburban areas of big cities there is a movement to define a boundary, create an environment with open spaces, trees and attractive signs. The cost is not excessive and the majority of people in our area will support a positive approach.

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