Residents frustrated at slow progress on homes

Awful: Alan Cain and wife Lesley say the crumbling homes are an eyesore
Awful: Alan Cain and wife Lesley say the crumbling homes are an eyesore
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Residents living near a long-delayed housing project have spoken of their anger at how run-down the area has become.

Alan Cain and his wife Lesley live opposite crumbling houses in Morecambe’s West End which have been earmarked for redevelopment for a decade.

Those behind the £5.5m scheme at Chatsworth Gardens say they have pencilled in next month for a start date on the work.

Developers PlaceFirst this week shook hands on a deal with Lancaster City Council to start work after years of delays and problems, including when original developers Places For People pulled out after the recession bit.

The Manchester firm will revamp 48 houses on Albert Road, Chatsworth Road and Westminster Road which have stood empty and derelict for years.

But David Morris, MP for the area, called for Lancaster City Council to offer a council tax rebate to nearby residents, calling the saga “a debacle”, while town councillor Steven Ogden believes they should also issue a formal apology.

Mr Cain said: “I’m embarrassed to tell people where I live, it’s the street where houses are falling down.

“All you can do at the end of the day is shut your front door, pull down the blinds and lock yourself in. When it’s wet, it’s disgusting, it’s awful, it’s horrible to live here.

“We could do with moving but we can’t afford to. I feel like a prisoner in this house.”

Coun Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council and West End councillor, said: “Amidst the chaos caused by the recession many Government funded regeneration projects across the country were abandoned, but the city council has been steadfast in its desire to progress the scheme, despite the original developer, Places for People, pulling out.

“I realise that residents in the area have been frustrated by the delays and the disrepair that some of these houses have fallen into, and I share their frustration.

“Where damage has occurred to the buildings through break-ins and vandalism we have acted, but repairs have been safety related rather than restorative because of the need to work within tight budgets.”

PlaceFirst said the scheme will target lower-income families but potential tenants will need to provide references and pass credit checks and sign a neighbourhood agreement.