A Goole Action Group - Who are we?
Goole Action Group

The Phoenix is Rising!

GOOLE ACTION GROUP formed in January 2005,  following a public meeting. The majority of residents were against East  Riding of Yorkshire Council plans for the terraced town of Goole. 

Real Estate - Going, Going, Gone!

Under Goole Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment, on 7 December 2004 ERYC designated PHOENIX STREET AND RICHARD COOPER STREET as Non-Sustainable - meaning the DEMOLITION of 117 homes, a beauty salon, the Adelphi  warehouse, and 53 Hook Road.

The real reason that ERYC wants to DEMOLISH Phoenix Street and Richard Cooper Street is because "IN THESE  STREETS THERE IS A NEED AND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SIGNIFICANT  INVESTMENT...".

This development site is intended to offer a  profitable investment - for ERYC, and for Yorkshire Housing Association -  not for those residents who have already paid for their homes and want  to stay in them, after also putting up with the less than "fair or good  reputation" that ERYC is using as a reason to get rid of them.

As one housing developer told the inaugural meeting of GOOLE ACTION GROUP, once Phoenix Street and Richard Cooper Street are demolished, the rest of the town is at risk. Knocking down those two streets will simply  move the problems suffered by residents to other areas.

There  are 2700 homes in the Goole Renewal Area and 21 of the town's 55  terraced streets are labelled FRAGILE - where "reported crime rates may also be above average for the area". That will be used when your street is assessed again.




End of an era as developers claim the last Potteries oatcake shop

Observer newspaper reports Council's decision to demolish a beloved front-room shop sparks debate about regeneration


Oatcakes baked at terraced house sold through the front-room window - until owner now pushed into selling property.

Reminds us of Phoenix Street home-baking by former resident for neighbourhood, once upon a time.

Another example of traditional community life crumbling.

24 FEBRUARY 2012


23 JANUARY 2012


I promised to get back to you about meetings I had last week with housing ministers Grant Shapps and Andrew Stunell and with shaddow housing minsiter Jack Dromey. All were very constructive and there was agreement that the mess left behind after the withdrawal of housing market renewal has to be addressed.

Grant Shapps was keen to point out that the government had already agreed grants of £35m to pay for "rescuing people trapped in streets affected by HMR" and would be launching another £50m in April to pay for refurbishments. I gave Shapps my suggestions for what that fund should be used for, he said there will be a short consultaiton process, and I have been invited to discuss our proposals in more detail with his officals. I'm very grateful for all your comments and views which I will certainly put forward in this consultation.

We also had a discussion about the £35m Shapps has already allocated. I expressed concern that the money was going to be used for a further waive of demolitions, he was adamant that this was not the case. He said he thought HMR had been a disaster but the age of demolitions was now over. 

I have to say I'm not completely convinced by this, and we have asked for paperwork relating to all the grants made under this (£35m) programme through the Freedom of Information Act. When we get results I'll share them with you. (Thank you JB for alerting me to this)

Finally I have a request. If Shapps is right and demolitions are now over, then what is going to happen to the houses that were boarded up for clearence? One way of testing this would be to use the "Community Right to Reclaim Land" You may know this better as PROD (indeed some of you have used them) . It's an old bit of legislation that allows the secretary of state to order the disposal (sale) of empty publicly owned houses and land. Grant Shapps has personally relaunched PROD as "Community Right to Reclaim Land" so presumably wants people to use it.  If you are affected by council owned houses that have been boarded up for demolition I'd really encourage you to use the legislation and request that the government gets the houses sold and reoccupied. There is information on how to do this on our website: http://emptyhomes.com/what-you-can-do-2/resources/prods-2/ I'm also very happy to talk to you individually about choosing suitable properties for PRODing and helping you through the process. Do let me know if you are interested in giving it a go.

Best Wishes

David Ireland Chief Executive Empty Homes
T: 020 7921 4325 | W: www.emptyhomes.com
75 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HS
Empty Homes is the operating name for Empty Homes Agency Limited.
Registered in England as a charitable Industrial and Provident Society No. 27697R

22 JANUARY 2012

Bulldozed: the minister’s pledge to save homes. - Charles Clover Published: 22 January 2012

Pat Dunn is a 70-year-old grandmother recovering from cancer. Her husband, John, 73, sounded distressed when I called. They live in a Victorian terrace house of some architectural merit in the centre of Bootle, Merseyside. Their home, in what was once a prosperous, middle-class area, did not stand in the way of a road, airport or any project of public importance, but last week Sefton council compulsorily purchased it and told them they had a month to get out. The Dunn's are one of four families left in Hertford Road who will lose their homes as part of a regeneration scheme that will not necessarily build any new houses.

Their entirely serviceable home will be flattened in the service of the last government’s discredited ideology of “housing market renewal” because they live in a Pathfinder regeneration area and because  private developers once told the council they wanted the site. 

The Dunns have been living with demolition for years, as the bulldozers work their way up the street. Their windows are filthy and there is always noise. “It’s just their way of persecuting us and driving us out,” Pat told me. They would go now, but the council has paid them only  £97,000 for their four-bedroom home, whereas they have been advised comparable homes are worth £180,000. This will have to be resolved at a tribunal. Elsewhere in Bootle, in the Klondyke area, an 88-year-old pensioner who has lived, free, in her house all her life is refusing to move to a bungalow where she will have to pay rent of £70 a week.

Local Labour councillors and MPs have been slow to take up the cause of these elderly victims. The Dunns’ MP, Joe Benton, claimed they had cancelled their appointment with him, which they had not. It is heretical in this Labour heartland to criticise an industry that puts state money into councillors’ budgets and also benefits housing associations and developers — but not its frail victims. The regeneration industry gets money out of the state by blighting streets, leaving a crop of boarded-up homes to be “harvested” — as one expert acting for the victims described it. The pattern is clear across the north of England. It brings in millions.

I thought this disgraceful story was over, for on November 24 last year the housing minister, Grant Shapps, told the Commons that he was winding up Pathfinder, “ending the Whitehall obsession with demolitions” and taking steps to get empty homes back into beneficial use. He criticised the demonisation of the traditional British terrace under the last government. He identified the perverse incentive to run down areas, the large profits handed to developers and the damage done to Victorian heritage. He said people were told they would see a transformation of their area, when what this meant was buildings bulldozed, neighbourhoods torn apart and families trapped in abandoned streets. “This was wrong,” said Shapps.

So it was. Imagine my surprise, then, when I rang the Dunns last week and found Pathfinder still alive.

This was followed by astonishment when I was shown a breakdown, released under a freedom of information request, of what the £35m “transition fund” money announced by Shapps to wind down Pathfinder would be spent on. The bid for Merseyside, which Shapps approved, goes far beyond rescuing isolated households. Under this “exit strategy”, councils on Merseyside will demolish another 2,369 homes by 2018, on top of the 4,489 destroyed already. There are no proposals for refurbishment.

Incredibly, in Bootle, some £4m of the New Homes Bonus, the coalition’s flagship plan to persuade councils to build affordable homes, will be used to contribute towards the vast sum needed for demolition. That is incredibly cynical. The £10m of transition fund money to be spent, mostly on demolition, in Liverpool includes 300 homes in the Welsh streets, Ringo Starr’s birthplace, which Shapps said last year he would rather see refurbished.

Can Shapps have read what he signed? When I put this to his department, he replied that councils “should not be pursuing large-scale demolition, particularly where refurbishment is an option, and I am reviewing the use councils are making of this money”. Well 2,300 homes on Merseyside and thousands more in Gateshead, Teesside, the Potteries and elsewhere is hardly small scale. And there isn’t much he can do about it, as he has signed off the money.

Shapps and his boss, Eric Pickles, are Conservatives. They should be against out-of-control, self-interested bureaucracies and socialist councils, and in favour of private property. Are they weak, incompetent or conspired against by their civil servants? A bit of each, I  would guess. If Shapps and Pickles really want to slay the Pathfinder monster, they need to be tough. They need to destroy its culture — in the civil service, in the quangos and in the housing associations whose grossly over-rewarded  executives are paid according to turnover, which goes up with every new scheme of which they are given a percentage.

How can a minister in a coalition that is apparently cash-strapped make available a further £35m  (councils will find matching funds to double that) for a scheme that has wasted billions? Shapps’s rhetoric in the Commons was admirable, but it is contradicted by what we find he has done.

06 DECEMBER 2011

The Great British Property Scandal Channel 4 preview

Channel 4 said: "The UK is in the middle of a housing crisis and this  December, Channel 4 airs a season of special programmes to investigate  why and highlight possible solutions.

"Almost two million British families are currently on the waiting  lists for social housing, and thousands live in unsuitable temporary  accommodation or are struggling with soaring rent payments. Cutbacks and  the recession also mean that homelessness has become a very real threat  to thousands across the whole social spectrum who are increasingly  struggling to make ends meet.

"Meanwhile, one million properties lie empty across the UK, even  though many cost huge amounts to keep secure - a bill often footed by  taxpayers. In some areas whole streets of houses stand deserted,  damaging the local community as well as neighbourhood businesses. In  others, empty stranded houses are a blight on the local landscape  attracting vermin and vandals, and depressing surrounding property prices.

"For The Great British Property Scandal season, Channel 4  investigates some of the issues that have contributed to the housing  crisis and speak to a broad range of the people affected by it."

The Great British Property Scandal/Report an Empty House

20 NOVEMBER 2011


Rowan Moore - The Observer

"The idea of the terrace, he says, "started a long time ago and it will  go on for another 500 or 600 years. It is such a good form". The only problem is that "there is a perception in the housing market that it won't sell, so developers have to make things convoluted, even though those to-die-for streets of Islington, where Boris Johnson lives, are all repetitive".

19 NOVEMBER 2011


Daily Mail Online - Right Minds

The working classes of Britain were the source of its power and wealth as a  great trading nation. From them came the energy and resourcefulness which created our exports. And all over Britain, in working-class communities, there was a powerful sense of solidarity and community.  

From the colliery bands of Durham to the male voice choirs of South Wales, from the music halls of the East End of London to the brass bands of Yorkshire, from the Wesleyan chapels and the Workers’ Educational Association evening classes, there was a rich vein of working-class culture and community in this country. In working-class streets and tenements there was a palpable sense of neighbourliness. This was more than something cosy — it gave colossal strength to the community beyond the working-class purlieus.

In war, the working classes gave their young to fight, but it was the resolve of those who lived near the docks in Plymouth, Liverpool and Glasgow and perhaps above all in the East End of London, that made this country unbeatable.

Best of British: Our heavy industry was once the envy of the world

Meanwhile in peacetime, the housebound and the sick would not need a social worker or someone from the council to provide them with food or nursing. Neighbours did it spontaneously. Children did not need probation officers because they had  parents who stayed together, often  in very difficult circumstances, and instilled a sense of discipline.

Crime rates in Britain between the end of World War I and the Sixties were   lower than at any period of our history, and lower than anywhere else in   the world because of this tightly-knit, home-loving, working-class   sense of community.

But when political decisions were made to dismantle Britain’s great industrial base, the working class suffered desperately. Old industrial communities all over the country were smashed up.

06 NOVEMBER 2011

Regenerate the cities – give empty houses away

State intervention is not the answer to England’s problem of boarded-up  terraces. Councils must be made to sell or give away empty houses

Charles Clover Published: 6 November 2011

You  would laugh if it weren’t so sad. A Commons committee, chaired by the  Sheffield Labour MP Clive Betts, has been on a trip around the battered  towns and cities of the industrial north of England and found streets  where the last residents are stranded in boarded-up terraces.

They  have concluded that people have been abandoned in appalling conditions  because of the coalition’s “disastrous” cuts to regeneration schemes.

Who boarded up the houses, pray? Councils bankrolled by Betts’s party.

Who  devised the Pathfinder schemes that blighted the areas they were meant  to save with the threat of demolition, and seldom came up with the  decent new housing they were meant to provide? Betts’s party, again. In  the words of Grant Shapps, the housing minister, the last government’s  attempts at regeneration involved “bulldozing buildings ... [and -->  desperately hoping that someone might come along to reorder the rubble”.

What  Betts and his committee fail to ask is which was the bigger disaster:  the cuts to regeneration projects or the idea of Pathfinder itself. The  reality is that the idea of “renewing” the housing market with state  money, devised by John Prescott and left-leaning academics, has proved  more expensive and more disruptive to people’s lives than was ever  envisaged.

Historically,  housing markets have renewed themselves when property has been cheap  and urban pioneers such as artists and entrepreneurs have moved in, not  when councils and property developers have struck some super-deal. Now,  instead of calling for the release of perfectly good homes to people who  would do them up, Betts — a former leader of Sheffield city council —  and his committee seem to want more of the same: more state  intervention; more big schemes. Their only incisive observation: the  coalition doesn’t have a viable strategy for clearing up the mess  Pathfinder left behind.

Arguably,  the coalition should have reacted more ideologically than it has to the  battle that still rages over housing in the north. For what is needed  is a change to the state-dependent mindset that imprisons left-wing MPs  and councils as surely as it does the benefit claimants of Burnley  estates. A possible way forward was highlighted in the recommendations  made by Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy in their report on Liverpool  last month. They see the Victorian and Edwardian housing stock as an  asset and the city’s population as a potential labour market of nearly  3m people. They condemn the Detroit model of “demolish and grass over”  in deprived areas, a strategy long pursued by Liverpool. They propose  that the long-term unemployed earn their benefits by creating gardens  and doing up derelict houses.

There  is something comic in the recommendation that jobseekers on £67.50 a  week should sort out the mess made by Pathfinder’s consultants on £800 a  day. But the message is invigorating after decades of managed decline  and the demolition of supposedly obsolete but actually perfectly  serviceable terraces. The question is whether councils such as  Liverpool’s are capable of the necessary change in thinking. What’s  clear is there is now a need to provoke one because the government looks  as if it is about to set off another wave of demolitions. As exposed by  the weekly trade magazine Inside Housing, an unintended consequence of a  coming reform of public housing finances is that councils have an  incentive to dispose of as many homes as possible by the time the rules  take effect in March. Nottingham and Birmingham are threatening to  demolish up to 2,000 homes.

The  solution is to devise a way of making councils such as Liverpool sell,  or give away, empty homes that the private sector could more cheaply  bring into use. London boroughs such as Islington, reluctant to divest  themselves of council housing in the Thatcher era, were forced to do so.  Property prices soared.

Powers,  known as Prods — public requests to order disposal — that were devised  at that time need to be improved so councils are forced to sell empty  homes to people who have a coherent vision for the area. Selling off  property at a low price to people who undertake to do it up has worked  in Rotterdam, where social problems have all but gone and the scheme is  oversubscribed.

Eric  Pickles’s communities department needs to look at ways of getting  boarded-up properties owned by councils and housing associations into  the hands of charities, local groups and individuals. Groups such as  Canopy in Leeds and Giroscope in Hull have shown the way by doing up  empty properties, using the unemployed as labour, at their own expense.

At  present the councils don’t want to sell — certainly not at the bargain  prices needed to drive regeneration — and the coalition is deterred by  its belief in localism from forcing councils to do the right thing.  Pickles should reflect that there is another kind of localism. He needs  to empower people who want to do up their own environment with their own  money — this means getting councils to sell underused assets such as  Liverpool’s boarded-up Welsh Streets, where Ringo Starr was born.  Pickles and Shapps must act directly on the statist mindset that has  held back the northern towns for so long. If they don’t, they will go on  being blamed for problems they didn’t cause.

03 NOVEMBER 2011


31 OCTOBER 2011


Southern Street in Salford, Greater Manchester, was a row of  Victorian terraced houses typical of those built in this former  industrial heartland of Britain. Over time the inhabitants of the street  were made to leave through a combination of alleged social deprivation,  and because of the desire by government to enforce a contentious urban  renewal programme. There was an period before demolition when the  ‘condemned’ houses seemed almost frozen in time; this was when many of  these photographs were taken. Even with the doors and windows boarded  up, it is possible to get a sense of the personalities of the people  that once lived there. Painted in various tones of red, white, and even  purple, the houses reflected the changing tastes of the street’s  inhabitants.

Click here SOUTHERN STREET to read about Southern Street in Manchester's Chimp Magazine, WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATIONS.

Featured Reviews

Review by Alex Nikjoo for The Architect's Journal, Critics                          -->

Stefan Boness’ Southern Street is the latest in a  series of books by the Berlin and Manchester based photo journalist that  deals with urban development within present-day Manchester

The book shows a single street within the Salford area of Manchester. The Victorian redbrick terraced houses that line the street appear to  be uniform; they are all load-bearing brick, all ‘one up-one down’ and  they are all boarded-up awaiting demolition.

The initial introduction is followed up with a series of photographs  of Southern Street, which take the reader along the road, witnessing  each abandoned house, culminating in their demolition and the emptiness  left behind in the spaces where the homes once stood.  In the  introduction Boness asks the reader to search for the personal touches  on each building facade. This close inspection gives the reader a sense  of the lifestyle, culture and interests of the people who once lived in  these condemned dwellings.

Rather than another glorification of the beauty in poverty, Southern  Street illustrates a disappearing cultural heritage in Britain due to  housing schemes such as the now abandoned Pathfinder Scheme. This was  established in 2002 in order to regenerate housing in nine key areas  across Britain, through refurbishment,  clearance and replacement.  Thus  the book addresses the immense urban and social changes that have and  are still taking place in post-industrial Britain. The houses can be  conceived as beautiful and as the articulation of personality in  repetitive architecture. Yet in doing this they ultimately become a  metaphor for the nostalgia created by the societal transformation that  occurred during the privatisation of British industry  during the  seventies and eighties. 

By repeating a similar image over the course of forty pages, Southern Street is addressing the consequences of poor planning and the unforeseen consequences of housing regeneration schemes.

21 OCTOBER 2011



Sylvia addressed Sheffield University's post-grad planning students, on the effects of planning decisions taken without due regard for settled communities.  Read her presentation, that by all accounts gave these would-be planners a great deal to think about.  One comment that Sylvia received:  "many of the points you were making this morning were more or less  repeated by the Harvard professor at the lecture earlier this evening", puts her in the same league as an academic speaker from the top institution in the USA!  GOOLE begins at 017. The file was too big to include the photographs  that illustrated Sylvia's "lecture" but these were provided by Cllr. I.  Blackburn and a selection can be viewed below.  We have a lot to thank Sylvia for.  In taking on this role, having  learned her "trade" so to speak from experience of life in her

Carlisle street to Hook Road after demolition

20 OCTOBER 2011


Read all about the Shuffleton Street problems - moved across town to Poet's Corner - as well as into Marshfield Road.



Seventh Annual General Meeting of Saltwell & Bensham Residents Association Thursday 22 September 2011 at 7-00pm Whitehall Road Methodist Church Hall – entrance on Coatsworth Road.Guest speaker Will Palin from SAVE Britain’s HeritagePlease come along with your neighbour. New Build within 12 Months Say Gateshead CouncilWho are they kidding? How can they deliver?

Gateshead Council says it will start building brand new family homes within 12 months and produced an artist impression of how it will all look.Around 100 homes with 6 bedrooms, boulevards to carry traffic, large  gardens and a large common area of green space. It looked fantastic. BUT The original proposal was for 3 bedroom houses at £150,000 each or over at 7 times the average salary of £19,000 in our area. 6 bedroom properties will cost £100,000 more and buyers have to put down a 20% deposit or £50,000

Can you or your family afford this? There was an important missing feature from the artist impression; the East Coast Mainline railway from London to Scotland. There was no indication that every 30 minutes an inter city train would be yards from the door. The council demolished 118 soundly built terraced properties. How can 100 detached luxury properties with gardens and a large green space fit into the same space?

There  was no mention where the money is coming from! Developers are not building houses for sale and there is no money from the Government to  build houses.

From January 2012 single people under 35 will no longer receive Housing Benefit based on one bedroom self-contained accommodation. This may well mean the 6 bed houses will turn into houses in multiple occupation.

We ask the Council to continue renovating existing homes to provide sustainable eco friendly homes. Bring back the houses boarded up into occupation for rent or to buy at a time of housing shortage. Turn the area now being grassed over to be used for allotments. The Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 imposed  a duty on councils to provide allotments if six or more people say that  they want them.

People have approached us so please write to the Council as well. With all the cuts and loss of jobs in Gateshead we can only assume the  Council is expecting to get money from the Regional Growth Fund  announced by the Government. Bidding for the first round is now open, and closes shortly.

The Regional Growth Fund is only £1.4 billion or £1,400 million over a three year period, that is £467 million a year for the whole of the country. A house will cost say £100,000 to build so only 4,670 houses could be  built if all the money was spent on houses but it won’t be.

The  Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the mate of David Cameron and George Osborne, can bid for the money so where do you think the money will go? The  council has to comply with the law on Environmental Impact Assessment, which protects you and your family and the community and the environment.

Saltwell and Bensham Pathfinder Area Residents Association Secretary, Nancy Bone 217 Bensham Road, Gateshead NE8 1US Tel 0191-477-0036 and  07990-760920 E-mail nancybone2001@yahoo.co.uk For more information go to our Blog www.sbresidents.org



Support Whalley in The Ribble Valley from over-development.Save Whalley Village Where you can also save Green Space from Development by signing the National Trust Petitionand Government e-petition and e-petition


"Shoebox Homes" become the UK norm

Shoebox Homes

17 AUGUST 2011


"This is the site of the Leicester Science Park, where new things  should be able to occur. A sign says "starting on site summer 2010".  There is no sign of it a year later.

What there is, is a new housing development. Little detached  boxes in cul-de-sacs, designed for two purposes - maximising car parking  and maximising profit. Each house has a little neo-Georgian porch, what  the developers call a "gob-on".

What you notice is the emptiness. Not just the huge empty  wastes outside, but the empty-headedness of a society that has abandoned  all hope that it could create something better than this bloody mess."     

28 JULY 2011


PRESS RELEASE  For immediate release  Issued - 27 July 2011

Merseyside Civic Society criticises ‘bleak’ Granby plan as unimaginative

Design experts criticise council approval of ‘bog-standard’ housing scheme for Toxteth 

Design  experts appealed to Liverpool’s planning committee on Tuesday to reject  ‘bleak’ housing designs for an estate on former demolition land in  Toxteth. Merseyside  Civic Society (MCS) claimed that the 65 house scheme proposed by  builders Gleeson Homes for a site off Kingsley Road, Liverpool 8, with  HCA support, represented a ‘bleak return’ for massive public investment,  and said Granby residents deserved better after years of delay and  disruption.

Chair  of Merseyside Civic Society, Dr. Peter Brown, told the committee “the  demolition of so many fine Victorian terraces in this area is made all  the worse when they are to be replaced by what can only be described as  the worst examples of bland, low grade, bog- standard housing”.

Dr  Brown said not requesting contributions for open space in inner city  streets went against the council’s own policies, and appeared to lower  the benchmark for development in Liverpool’s former ‘housing market  renewal’ area, on which some £300m has been spent.

“The  Society believes a far better scheme should have been demanded for the  site and that the outcome will represent a bleak return for the public  money invested in site-assembly under so called Housing Market Renewal. “

He said:  “Gleesons’ proposal falls woefully short of the ‘transformational change’ that was promised by the Pathfinder initiative.  Liverpool  can hardly grow population and resolve housing waiting lists by putting  65 units on a site previously occupied by 118.”

The objections were rejected by the Committee and planning permission was granted. 

Council  planning officials had recommended approval, despite appearing to admit  it was not in line with their policy expectations, stating  “The proposed layout for the new residential development does not meet the  interface requirements that would be generally required by  Supplementary Planning Guidance 10 (new residential development), but is  not dissimilar to other developments nearby” (page 39). 

Merseyside  Civic Society claims this shows recent poor schemes are setting a lower  standard that allows developers to further dumb down projects, creating  an ever declining ‘dash to the bottom’ in terms of design standards.

Dr.  Brown said “Demolishing solid town houses for replacement by wastelands  and patches of low density estates handicaps the vitality of inner  Liverpool.  Dropping density to 40 dwellings per hectare from around 100 suffocates viability of retail and other services.  This  in turn increases resident dependency on use of the car, and makes it  more difficult for public transport to serve the area effectively. 

MCS  also criticised the council for not asking Gleesons provide for open  space and other amenities. “We are mystified that no developer  contributions are to be sought in this case – contrary to an Executive  Board resolution of 7 November 2008 that states contributions would be  sought for any residential development of 10 or more dwellings.”

Earlier  this month, Granby residents staged a week long picket to block  bulldozers from clearing Victorian homes on an adjacent site on Kingsley  Road. They were protesting at a council partnership with social  landlords Plus Dane and private developers Lovells, who are working on a  similar demolition and rebuild scheme to that approved yesterday.            ENDS


[1 MCS has been in existence since 1938 to engage the people of the region, to help to preserve and maintain key elements of the area’s past, such as the Albert Dock and the Lyceum, as well as encouraging and supporting excellence in design.  As a charitable organisation, we depend upon subscriptions and membership renewals.  We encourage those who share our concerns to attend MCS events and to maintain awareness of, and participate in, our activities. Further information is available at www.merseysidecivicsociety.org.uk, including how to join (£10 for individuals), with payment now possible online via PayPal. -->

FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Dr Peter Brown, Chair, Merseyside Civic Society 0151-794-3122     pjbbrown@liv.ac.uk

25 JULY 2011


Message From Gateshead:

Hi, The substance of the article is that Gateshead's joint venture partners are to build 6 bedroom houses within 12 months on the demolition site. This appeared on the front of our free paper last week. It is a masterpiece of deception. The railway at the bottom of the demolition zone has  disappeared even though the line is the main line from London to Edinburgh. That is why these streets were called the Railway Streets. The shops at the top end on Saltwell Road have also disappeared despite the fact that the Council do not have permission to demolish them. The article is full of coulds. There is no money available from the public or private sector to build anything, even if there is money to build, building will take place in one of the other areas in the Borough first, probably over to the West, where it is much more rural and pleasanter and higher disposable income.

22 JULY 2011


05 JULY 2011


Salford Star

"The community is all gone – it's all geared to the new community, not the old community of Salford" Shirley

02 JULY 2011

GHOST MILK - Calling Time on the Grand Project

IAN SINCLAIR in The Independent "... the energies of the past live on in the present" "... memory of people and place"" ...where nothing is what it looks like"

15 APRIL 2011

Housing Scandal! Pathfinder: a Postmortem

In this extract  from SAVE's latest Pathfinder report, Jonathan Brown, Planner and member of Liverpool Civic Society, examines the legacy of Pathfinder -  introducing a detailed critique by Bill Finlay of the recent Audit  Commission report on the scheme.SAVE Britain's Heritage

William Palin Secretary SAVE Britain’s Heritage 70 Cowcross Street London EC1M 6EJ Tel: 020 7253 3500 Fax: 020 7253 3400

14 APRIL 2011

Message from SAVE: A nightmare in your street - the ruins of Pathfinder...

Dear all, SAVE is about to publish a savage critique of the recent Audit Commission report on Pathfinder. Our report has been written by former Liverpool planner Bill Finlay, with a devastating introduction by Jonathan Brown of the Liverpool Civic Society. Anyway, we need a good selection of pictures of Pathfinder streets in as many different areas as possible. So this is a plea for you to send me the best you have. We will of course credit photographers.

Many thanks, Will.

William Palin. SAVE Britain’s Heritage. 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ. Tel: 020 7253 3500  Fax: 020 7253 3400
william.palin@savebritainsheritage.org  SAVE Britain's Heritage

8 APRIL 2011


Welsh StreetsCross the M62 westwards and see how the folks in Liverpool are alive and kicking!

15 MARCH 2011


Bloomberg's $3bn vision for New York's waterfront

By David Usborne in New York - The Independent

11 MARCH 2011

PATHFINDERS-SIGNIFICANT POSITIVE IMPACT FINDS WATCHDOG Judge for yourselves! Now the Town Council and a newly-formed Civic Society has plans for GOOLE AS DIAMOND CITY. When interest in establishing a Civic Society was expressed a few years back, Goole Action Group was informed that the town already had one - Goole Development Trust and Development Trust Association Seems the history, heritage and community spirit of Goole is now seen as valuable asset - with Shuffleton Streets out the way.

01 MARCH 2011



See what can be done to give Victorian two up two downs a hi-spec refurbishment, 2, 3, 4 bedroom homes with parking, and the existing community hasn't been evicted! Time to move Goolies!  Find a vibrant community!  Wonder if any landlord wants another Edwardian apartment block?


18 FEBRUARY 2011


Just think about it in terms of Shuffleton and its re-development costs. And now the asset-strippers are at work in neighbouring streets, prising away lead flashing this week.Is there any wonder refurbishment of existing property is a waste of investment.

18 FEBRUARY 2011



28 JANUARY 2011


This is the author of all our woes! Now he is trying to have his say both ways, having left Birmingham uni. for Manchester. He began it all with his tome on THE NORTHERN WAY or some such academic heresy. 

19 JANUARY 2011



1) Ted Jeory quotes some very encouraging comments from Housing Minister Grant Shapps in the Sunday Express:  Mr  Shapps, who is due to visit Liverpool within weeks, told the Sunday  Express yesterday that it was “simply not true” that local people wanted demolition and that the council leader was guilty of “extremely dodgy maths”.

He said: “The renovation costs are more likely to be about £35,000 per home. “And  the council doesn’t seem to have twigged that it’d be able to claim our  New Homes Bonus entitling them to £1,500 per year for six years for  each empty home they bring back into use. “They’d  only have a small shortfall, which they could fund by selling some of  the £20million of assets they’re now sitting on there.  

“I agree that some decisions should be local, but sometimes there are  matters of a national interest and when you’re talking about a pop icon  and the drummer for the world’s biggest ever band then that is of  interest.”

Read more and comment: Express.co.uk Sunday 16 January 2011MP-rebuked-over-bid-to-save-Ringo-s-house#ixzz1BC4QZxm5

13 NOVEMBER 2010 


Friends of GAG don't count, it seems, in GTC scheme of things, according to the Town's headman. Wonder what legacy the next hundred plus years will leave for posterity - without the history of working families and their energy "the new town of Goole" c. 1826 would still be living on dockland.

These streets grew up beyond the confines of the Aire & Calder's estate, because the townspeople took charge of their own affairs.  It's time that our leading denizens took a few lessons from history and appreciated that the people who came before them, who made homes for themselves when the bigwigs ran out of steam, generated  self-empowerment. A greater achievement than copy-cat officialdom displays.     


10 NOVEMBER 2010


Didn't our Mr. Mayor say only the other week, we are ridding streets of crime?  He has pushed it out to those streets still standing - just.  Unshaven "casers" entering front yards in broad daylight now. Nosing about in the undergrowth. Cheeky scrap metal merchants, helping themselves to what was nearly invisible, despite being told it was spoken for - waiting until back was turned and helping themselves to the old cast iron guttering and downpipe.

As my family commented: There's no respect for property, privacy or person these days in some places is there.

And I have to add the Police aren't around learning who is about so what we have to do is tell ourselves that these unshaven, vagrant types have to make a living with help of old age pensioners' cast-offs, at a price.


09 NOVEMBER 2010



01 NOVEMBER 2010 


Principal of Malcolm Fraser Architects and currently Geddes Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh running from 2009 to 201

Speaking in Newcastle, Malcolm  Fraser  thought the solution is to look at what we have, not what gadgets we can cram into a new house.

‘That’s absolutely bonkers, and everybody knows it in the building industry, we’re just all keeping quiet about it’ We’ve got communities and we’re turning our back on them, we need to care for these rather than concern ourselves with bullshit about knocking down and building new communities.”

It certainly was a passionate night, and the rousing rounds of applause for all those involved showed a certain interest in how greenwashing a new estate might not be the best thing for sustainable housing. A lot of the best slides, as Malcolm pointed out, were all about what an old community already has – shops, a school, industry nearby. Let’s just hope Northern Architecture can take the success of this night and build something better. 

And from the past Malcolm Fraser writing in Building Design Pulling down houses is not sustainability 27 May 2005PULLING DOWN HOUSES IS NOT SUSTAINABILITY The Pathfinder programme — government investment of £2 billion over the next 15 years to revitalise nine northern English urban areas — ought to  be magnificent news.

Having lived through the urban catharsis of the late 20th century — institutionalised contempt for the built environments we inherited,  followed by a reactive timidity towards them — we must have learned by  now how to take a good, balanced view of renewal.We  might start by looking at the resources we have inherited, namely a mix  of industrial and residential. Patrick Geddes’s concept of  “conservative surgery” is an excellent tool here — the idea that you  repair, alter or conserve the best of the urban fabric while introducing  open space and new buildings in place of the poorer.You  might imagine that such “surgery” would be unlikely to involve the  demolition of Victorian terraced homes, which represent a huge resource,  in both social and physical terms, embodying enormous energy — in both the cultural and kilojoule sense. That the Pathfinder programmes are  threatening between 200,000 and 400,000 of them with demolition  demonstrates that something has gone massively, even obscenely, wrong.The  scale is staggering, the obscenity both in the detail (people who love  their houses being moved out) and at a city-wide scale.

In Liverpool, for example, the proposed demolition of 20,000 homes has an unhappy symmetry with the 20,000-person waiting list for social housing.That  there is failure in these run-down areas is indisputable: but it’s a  failure of employment and the spread of wealth, of social housing  policies that blight whole areas, of perception and context. To blame  this on the buildings in these areas is crazy — especially when those  buildings are such successes elsewhere.Their  demolition is supported by the standard government view that big,  physically dramatic acts, and big business and construction interests  are preferable to the sort of small-scale repair and renewal programmes  that involve small spends, and small builders, architects and landlords.

The iniquitous VAT regime where 17.5% tax penalises repair and renewal over demolition and new-build of course skews all analysis of the value of  our built heritage. But even here the economic benefits of small-scale  renewal are so clear that it doesn’t dent the basic case — as  demonstrated on ITV’s Tonight Special, where a “derelict”, “failing”,  “surplus” terraced house was transformed into a modern, open, insulated  home for £18,000, matching the cost of its proposed demolition and way  cheaper than a £100,000 replacement.Such makeovers represent one approach.

The comprehensive nature of the  Pathfinder programmes should allow us to look at others that combine or  subdivide individual properties to achieve market diversity. But the post-war regeneration-by-wrecking-ball model remains, albeit  disguised by buzzwords and doublespeak where “slum clearance” programmes  are rebranded as “sustainable communities”.But  the biggest crime is against the idea of sustainability, its apparent  high moral authority abused to justify the wrecking ball. It’s a mystery that sustainability seems only ever to be expressed in terms of new  building, rather than as a complete analysis of the costs and benefits.

And it’s a disgrace that this has cast heritage bodies — arguing here  for a proper audit of the resources offered by our built environment — as somehow anti-sustainability.The  greater truth in all this, that clarifies and guides all others, is  that “conservation” and “sustainability” are not separate boxes to tick, not at war with each other, but are, properly applied, one and the same thing: a view of the world we have inherited as a resource that needs  treating with care and respect.

29 OCTOBER 2010


The Guardian, Saturday 23 October 2010   

29 OCTOBER 2010


According to Mr. Mayor, whose courting days of Madam Mayoress took place down P. Street, all is being demolished in the name of crime - drugs still being peddled elsewhere of course by now.  What the Goole T.C. honorary head fails to add is that a family member also occupied a home in P Street much more recently than the parental days of yore.  Folks do remember those times, of course, in the days of ERYC grand-standing such residencies via improvement grants to property owners and housing associations, who failed to care for their tenants' indiscretions and worse.  That caused the spiral of decline, because owner occupiers began to move out and sold/rented property for putting up more of the anti-social nuisances.

Where were the authorities then?  Nowhere to be seen, naturally.  Left it to residents to do the policing, reporting, objecting.  Few bothered.  And so we have to get rid of the buildings when the masses have migrated into other terraced streets.  Jefferson Street resident featured not long ago, complaining about self-same troubles, his wife wouldn't use the back gate into the lane because of gangs of nuisances.  Will Jefferson Street  be allowed to degenerate and be demolished one day?

28 OCTOBER 2010 

Ex-Resident of Phoenix and Richard Cooper Streets writes:

I took a wander to the site today and noticed the street plate Phoenix removed no doubt for posterity. Probably it will find a home in the library museum. The fluted chimney pots are being removed very carefully as these are worth in excess of £50 each. As with the reclaimed slates which are worth a lot of money (I wonder if they will find a home in the Beverly area). At this rate the so called demolition will take a very long time indeed.

26 OCTOBER 2010



Will  Palin of campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage said: ‘It’s  good news that the coalition has realised that Pathfinder has been an  expensive  failure. What is absolutely scandalous is that demolitions are  continuing, even though in most cases funding for redevelopment is not  there. The coalition needs to act quickly and decisively to prevent any further destruction of good housing stock.’

Government to end Pathfinder programme.

26 October, 2010 | By Merlin Fulcher

The government has revealed plans to wind up its controversial £1 billion Housing Market Renewal ‘Pathfinder’ programme

All  uncommitted projects will be terminated immediately and the programme’s  remaining funding will be absorbed back into government once live  projects complete.

Housing  minister Grant Shapps explained to the House of Commons: ‘I have  visited Pathfinder schemes on many occasions, and some were very good  and some had some problems.

‘We  will complete all the committed [Housing Market Renewal --> schemes, and  we will then roll the funding up into the regional development fund.’

Pathfinder was set up to overhaul nine areas, mainly in the north of England, suffering from low residential demand due to poor quality housing stock.

Between  2002 and 2008 the programme refurbished and ‘improved’ around 59,000  homes, built 3,700 new properties and demolished 16,000.

Will  Palin of campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage said: ‘It’s good news  that the coalition has realised that Pathfinder has been an expensive  failure. What is absolutely scandalous is that demolitions are  continuing, even though in most cases funding for redevelopment is not  there. The coalition needs to act quickly and decisively to prevent any  further destruction of good housing stock.’

In April 2002 the Government announced nine areas needing specific housing market renewal support.

- Birmingham/Sandwell,
- East Lancashire,
- Hull and East Riding,
- Manchester/Salford,
- Merseyside,
- Newcastle/Gateshead,
- North Staffordshire,
- Oldham/Rochdale,
- South Yorkshire.

14 OCTOBER 2010


PROFESSOR ANNE POWERS of the London School of Economics and a Government Housing Advisor writes to ALAN WILSON of Goole Action Group:

"The Inspector, at the Public Inquiry into the Compulsory Purchase Order, IS NOT CORRECT in saying that knocking down a fully occupied area and attempting to replace it with high value homes would be for the benefit of the area. The North is covered with sites that hoped for this outcome and that have failed ... Middlesbrough is now being asked to revisit its large scale demolition plans near the city centre because there simply isn't the money or the interest in the building industry to carry out alternative building.  The same surely applies to Goole."

"... whether mixed communities of high cost housing and low cost housing really work? The simple answer is not very often, particularly in areas of low demand. What does work is people in work, even if it is in low paid work, living in neighbourhoods that are low income and have many low value properties in them and gradually upgrading the area using their incomes to make the existing attractive houses more valuable."

"Liverpool City Council, now controlled by labour, has suspended all of its demolition plans in order to review this problem and in order to deal with the large number of sites that are literally littering the inner city."

"This type of development only rarely brings about regeneration in the type of area you are discussing and the alternative of spending a relatively modest amount on upgrading existing homes is far more useful."


Well, do hope our civic reps and soothsayers are hunkered down, ready for the fallout.  Perhaps not nuclear, but certainly dust.  Will they be standing forth when the bomb site grows weeds?




Folks want to live in RC Street, but exist on benefits.

Usual suspects write their usual stuff although "Anti-social hell hole" sums up the place.

Bottles left at our gates by visiting workforce.

Bottles thrown at your place by ?

So much for ERYC doing another of their dozy street scene walks.

Occupiers sent postal info with dates and details.

Who pays?

Residents who fund their own way, support ERYC workforce, put up with nuisances and then find press drivelling about "improvements welcomed".

We might as well pull down the whole town, if Shuffleton Streets are done for.




26 AUGUST 2010


Self-important report and image unrepresentative of real actors in this long-running saga. WAIT AND SEE.

3 AUGUST 2010

Take a look at the photograph ending this social history. See 26)

It might stand as a true testament to the solidity of these streets.

Many thanks to Steve Austwick who sent us his comments and this wonderful image of Goole and its story.


15 JUNE 2010



15 JUNE 2010

National Launch of NEW Report on Pathfinder by William Palin, of SAVE BRITAIN’S HERITAGE

Reviving Britain's Terraces: Life after Pathfinder. A new report by Mark Hines Architects - "We have demonstrated that even a modest Victorian terraced house is still capable of meeting our future housing needs."  (Mark Hines Architects)

Price: £15 (£13 for Friends)

Note:  On request this document file can be emailed to GAG readers

Will Palin, secretary of SAVE BRITAIN’S HERITAGE says "New Labour's Housing Market Renewal (Pathfinder) Initiative has resulted in the destruction of thousands of terraced houses across the north of England. For this report, SAVE, a fierce critic of the scheme, has teamed up with architect Mark Hines to look at how housing earmarked for demolition can be adapted, upgraded and remodelled to a high standard of energy efficiency, creating a range of accommodation and forming exemplar 'eco-communities' of the future."

If you would like to come along to the launch and the buffet:

12-30 pm Saturday 19 June 2010 

Venue: Whitehall Road Methodist Church Hall Whitehall Road Bensham Gateshead NE8 4LH.

At the corner of Whitehall Road and Coatsworth Road

Main Entrance from Coatsworth Road and car park entrance from Whitehall Road.

Public Transport Details: Go-Ahead routes 53 and 54

please contact Nancy Bone, the Secretary of Saltwell and Bensham Residents Association by e-mail to nancybone2001@yahoo.co.uk or by post to 217 Bensham Road Gateshead NE8 1US

7 JUNE 2010



20 MAY 2010

Victorian Workers' Housing - Additions and Extensions to save terraced homes in Manchester


10 MAY 2010


Election 2010: New council leader set to order review of Housing Market Renewal initiative

26 APRIL 2010


Warren Bradley says local authority and HCA had 'probably bit off more than we could chew'


22 APRIL 2010


EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE CPO CASE Comment from former resident:"It has been tried here so many times, first by putting low renters in posh appartments and the mixed housing and I haven`t seen it work yet. The whole proceedure is written by a Consultant and promises a life in Shangri-la."Read all about it: IS PUBLIC HOUSING READY FOR THE YUPPIES

23 FEBRUARY 2010

LIVES ARE BEING BULLDOZED AND NO ONE LISTENSClick and Read Charles Clover in the Sunday Times ... before you read the Renaissance Goole Town Plan PORT OF GOOLE IN 2026

30 JANUARY 2010




The Real ADVANCE Goole

24 AUGUST 2009


Salford District Valuer Exposed

24 AUGUST 2009

Tom Dyckhoff

SAVING BRITAIN'S PAST starts on Aug 24 on BBC Two at 7.30pm

See Tom Dyckhoff's article from the Times

Heritage: from chocolate box to concrete box

17 JUNE 2009


Housing Regeneration Oldham

19 MAY 2009


Google "Andrew Winter and Advance Goole" to read ERYC Report (pdf)

6 FEBRUARY 2009 

"Last Man Standing"

Read INSIDE HOUSING -for the latest view of ERYC

Last Man Standing

Download our campaign poster and show your support!

Yorkshire Ridings Magazine - extract from June / July 2005

Demolition of homes not inevitable - Goole Courier - 09/02/06

Empty Homes Agency - saving Greenfields from development

BRE Trust - Formerly the Foundation for the Built Environment - a charitable company with research and educational objectives for public benefit

Housing Market Renewal - Description of the Government's 'Pathfinder' renewal programme

Housing Assistance Policy - ERYC Assistance Available for Housing Renewal