PLANS to demolish hundreds of homes as part of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme in Northumberland's biggest town look set to be radically revised because of changing circumstances.
A masterplan for the redevelopment of the former Bates Colliery area of Blyth includes proposals to knock down 245 council-owned houses on the rundown Hodgsons Road Estate, and replace them with new homes at a cost of £24.8m.
The plans – first drawn up in 2008 and confirmed last year – are aimed at contributing to the overall regeneration of the town’s quayside and riverside areas, and would leave only 50 of the existing 295 Hodgsons Road homes standing.
Now a new report to county councillors recommends a major re-think of the scheme, which involves flattening only 56 of the homes and retaining and improving the remaining 240.
Officers at County Hall say problems with financing the original scheme, changes in Government funding arrangements and amended development plans for nearby land mean mass demolition is not now considered the best way forward for the estate.
They say there are “no longer good reasons to demolish fundamentally sound houses”.
Next week executive members will be asked to approve the new strategy – which aims to maximise the availability of affordable housing in Blyth, bring the Hodgsons Road properties up the Government’s decent homes standard and improve the environment for tenants.
The Hodgsons Road scheme is part of a wider regeneration programme which includes plans by the Banks Group to build 300 homes and a new school at the old Bates Colliery site next door.