The first of Liverpool’s £1 homes, has been handed over to its new owner, as Mayor Joe Anderson tells private sector to “get on with bringing boarded properties into use.”
20 derelict houses in the Granby area of the city, left abandoned for almost a decade, have been sold for a £1 each to prospective buyers who applied in their thousands for the chance to purchase one. So far 10 applicants have been successful and the first of these, Mr. Jayalal Madde, was handed the keys to his new home last Wednesday.
The council initially launched the scheme as part of a wider strategy to fill over 150 homes across the city. The homes had been due for renovation by a property developer, but after the company failed to sign the contract with the council in November last year, the project had hit a stumbling block. In February of this year however, the council launched a novel pilot scheme that proved to be immensely popular with city residents.
Applications in the Thousands
Over 1,000 people applied for the 20 homes on offer, with applicants having to fill a number of criteria in order to be considered for a house. They had to live or work in Liverpool, be a first-time buyer and also in employment. They also had to agree to live in the property for a minimum of 5 years.
Despite the rock bottom price, the refurbishment of the homes promises to be a real challenge, with each property likely to cost in excess of £35,000 to be brought up to standard.
“A Dream Come True”
The first of the successful applicants, Jayalal Madde, had applied for funding through a credit union and had saved the rest himself to afford the renovation needed for his new home. He told the BBC “I’m a bit nervous, because when it comes to structural problems I know that it’ll be costly.”
That said, as he toured the house he remained positive that he would be able to bring it up to a decent standard. He told the Liverpool Echo, “It’s like a dream come true to get possession of the house and really exciting to see inside for the first time.”
The success of the campaign has encouraged the council to push ahead with the scheme, with Mayor Joe Anderson telling the BBC that he wanted to expand the project.
“There’s a lot of private sector properties boarded up in this city, and my message to them is to get on with bringing these properties back into use, otherwise we’ll be (issuing Compulsary Purchase Orders) and doing similar schemes.”
Mayor Anderson is keen to expand the scheme, to help him achieve his goal of returning 1,000 derelict homes in the city into affordable housing for the people of Liverpool. It’s hoped that homes in Picton and Kensington will soon be joining the houses in Granby, and once again become well-loved family homes.
Derelict houses are becoming a major blot on the landscape of Liverpool, particularly when there are so many people in need of affordable housing. It’s great to see this scheme finally getting underway and all of us at JDB Surveys wish Mr. Madde all the best for his new property!