I know this area well, having lived there for ten years, during which time I witnessed it’s steady, and seemingly irrevocable, decline. Some twelve or so years later I returned to record it.
The area is part of the former governments Pathfinder scheme, or, officially, the Housing Market Renewal Initiative. A scheme aimed at addressing a failure in the housing market where properties were considered unsellable and uneconomic to renovate. What the politicians didn’t like to say, though, was this was also a failure of political will and imagination, by a political class that was content to see solid and viable housing stock destroyed in order to hand over land to builders who would then ‘bank’ the land for an indeterminate time, waiting for more profitable times before they would build. All at a time of chronic housing shortages and prices unaffordable to many. Gone were the incentives to innovate or cut costs. Builders could carry on as before, rest assured that, whatever they did, the government would help them protect their profitiability. Resulting from a dogma that the market would find the right balance between supply and demand, then a recognition that it had not, and a government intervention was required, all to hand over the land back to the same market that had failed in the first place.
Mired in controversy from the start the scheme is worringly looking like it’s only legacy will be demolished houses. Or, as here, houses waiting to be put out of their misery.