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pounds 6m TO SAVE CRISIS ESTATE; Housing group unveils rebuilding plans.

RADICAL pounds 6 million plans to bulldoze and rebuild part of a "crime-ridden'' Coventry council estate were unveiled today.

More than 130 houses could be demolished in the scheme to breathe new life into the problem Pridmore estate in Foleshill.

The project, announced by the new company which has taken over the city council's housing stock, aims to make the estate a safer place and attract new tenants to an area where few want to live.The estate, made up of homes in Guild Road and Pridmore Road, has been labelled one of the city's worst crime hot spots of recent years. Council chiefs say a lot of crime still goes unreported and, although some efforts have been made to improve the area, many homes are still boarded up.

In the past fire crews have been pelted with stones by young arsonists and families have reported being woken up by the sound of petrol bombs. Primary school children have told councillors they were scared of gangs on the estate.

Tenants received letters this morning outlining the proposed redevelopment.

The plan is the brainchild of the Whitefriars Housing Group - which has just taken over the running of 20,169 former council homes in Coventry - in partnership with the Orbit Housing Association and Coventry City Council.

A three-week consultation with tenants and shopkeepers will now begin in a series of public meetings before a final decision is made.

The four-year scheme, backed by government Single Regeneration Budget funding, would see rented and private accommodation built with the creation of more green spaces and community areas.

The estate now has high numbers of empty homes and recent renovation work have failed to attract new residents. Its layout also makes it vulnerable to crime.

Whitefriars executive director for North Coventry Alison Hadden said: "The estate has been faced with lots of problems and we feel they can only be remedied by demolition of some of the homes there.

"What we are proposing is radical but it has been the subject of a great deal of thought. Now we want the input of the tenants. Their support will give us the opportunity to create a better future for the estate."

All three ward city councillors are backing the proposal. Cllr Heather Parker said: 'There are problems with crime and anti-social behaviour and the police have been working with the city council and local residents to solve them.''

It is not yet known which

homes would be demolished but it would be a mixture of empty and occupied houses.

Residents whose houses are knocked down would be given alternative housing.

Following the consultation, a report will be considered by Whitefriars and the Foleshill Regeneration Board before a decision is made at the end of October.

If it is given the go-ahead work would begin late next year and finish in 2005.

Alison Hadden said: "We have tried improving properties in an effort to attract families into them, but there are still too many that are empty."
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Author:Lewis, Gareth
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 2, 2000
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