This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
TENANTS of 70 former miners’ homes in Leeds have won a massive victory against a property developer who wanted to demolish the properties to make way for a luxury housing estate.
For two-and-a-half years the tenants of the houses at Oulton outside Leeds have lived with stress and uncertainty — but last night they were celebrating after Leeds City Council’s Planning Panel unanimously refused permission for the Pemberstone development.
The houses are in the LS26 postcode district and the tenants formed the “saveourhomesLS26” campaign supported by Leeds Hands Off Our Homes group and more recently by housing campaign group Acorn Leeds. They were also backed by the National Union of Mineworkers.
LS26 activist Cindy Readman told the Morning Star today: “I feel amazing. I can’t believe it to be quite honest.”
The tenants lobbied Leeds Planning Panel where the decision was announced today.
Ms Readman said: “We’re on our way home now. I think then we’ll be having a few drinks.
“The last two-and-a-half years have obviously been horrible. The stress of it has been unbelievable to be honest. You couldn’t make plans, you just don’t know what is going to happen.”
When the publicly owned deep coal mining industry was privatised by the Conservative government in 1993, British Coal — successor to the National Coal Board — owned tens of thousands of the homes of miners and their families.
As part of the sell-off, many properties were sold to private landlords and the 70 homes at Oulton ended up with Worcester-based property developer Pemberstone Group. The firm, which is controlled by multimillionaire Andrew Barker, planned to demolish them and build luxury houses far beyond the financial reach of the tenants.
The families were leaving their community at a time when Leeds was receiving 11,500 applications for social housing.
Tenants lived in doubt for years as the council went through a lengthy planning process.
Pemberstone can appeal against the council’s refusal of planning permission to the government’s Department of Communities and Local Government, which has the power to override the decision.
Ms Readman, who has lived in her home with her husband for 14 years and brought up three children, said: “Listening to what was said in the planning meeting it looked like the planning people were trying to make it as watertight as possible, with valid planning reasons for refusing.
“If they do take it to appeal we are hoping the decision will stand.”
Leeds City Council had not responded to a request for a comment when the Morning Star went to press.
A spokesman for Pemberstone said: “We are disappointed at the outcome particularly as the planning officers had recommended our proposals for approval.
“We believed our plans offered the only realistic solution for houses which have exceeded their expected lifespan.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.