There are a great many houses in Middlesbrough that have stood empty, and have been for a number of years, that could be brought back into use after renovation. This has happened, very successfully, in several parts of England where local residents have got together to plan their own neighbourhoods to create places they are stakeholders in and have reasons to be proud of.
“Change goes deeper when people can take control of it – rather than having it imposed upon them.”
Hazel Blears MP
Former Secretary of State
Communities and Local Government
We believe that this is true for almost anywhere in the country but is particularly true in Middlesbrough. If local residents plan the community for themselves, with help from authorities and other stakeholders, they will tend to care more for this community.
We know that this government has pushed through the Localism Bill that will give residents and communities the opportunity to take charge of their own destiny.
There are many homeless people in the UK and these properties could be used, after renovation, to house a number of these people.
Totals of Empty Homes 2010
ENGLAND – 734,414
Of which 46,399 are in the North East and 2,041 in Middlesbrough.
There are around 4565 people on the Middlesbrough housing list as well as 3894 in Stockton awaiting houses. There are 1.75 million families on housing waiting lists, nationally in April 2010 (Last figures available )
Middlesbrough CLT Ltd break new ground
A group of Middlesbrough residents have established a Community Land Trust for the area. The aim of the trust is to work with local people, initially in the Gresham and Middlehaven areas of the town, to revitalise communities and ensure that they thrive and remain a significant asset to the town.
Trust Chair, Barry Ogleby, from the Town Area Residents Association, said “for too long we have had to live with uncertainty about the future of our homes while the Council tried to implement its over-ambitious plans for our area. Although their policy currently remains one of further limited demolition (which we do not agree with) we know that the vast majority of our area will now be left out of future redevelopment plans although there is no credible Council plan to restore the confidence in our area that was so damaged by their original proposals.
The Land trust has been set up to help residents develop a community owned plan for the area that will guide future investment. Our intention is to deliver our plan by facilitating community ownership of local assets, including housing and other property, develop them, and invest future revenues and capital growth back into the local area. The Land Trust is looking to work with the local council, housing associations and landlords, to adopt plans that meet the needs and desires of local communities.
A local resident and Trust member, Mark Keenan said “the last seven years have been difficult for many of us as the Council announced plan after plan of what they wanted to do to our community. I think everyone can now see that those plans were too ambitious and could not be delivered. We have established the Trust to provide a chance for residents to decide what should happen next and how we can strengthen confidence in our area. Although it is early days, I hope that by working constructively with our neighbours, the Council and others, that we can support development not just to improve the town centre for visitors and shoppers but so that we can regain our place as the town centre location where people want to live in most.
The Trust was formed after consultation with residents by CUT, the opposition group to the Council’s demolition plans. Ashley Marron from CUT, also a member of the new Trust said”our campaign has seen the number of properties proposed for demolition by the Council significantly reduced. However, the uncertainty over the future of the area has not helped existing residents plan for the future. Although we will still have to struggle to save the homes the Council does still want to demolish, many of us want to put our energy into the future for our area. The Community Land Trust is an ideal opportunity for us to do just that. With Council support we all believe that we can repair the damage the Council has done to our community and build a bright future for such an historic part of our town.
Getting the job done whatever it takes ->