Thousands bid for £1 homes

MORE than 2,500 people have applied to buy Liverpool homes for just £1 in a newly expanded scheme. The pilot Pound Plus scheme saw 20 council properties sold for £1 in the Granby Four Streets and Arnside Road in Kensington. Following the success of this, Liverpool City Council announced they will do the same again with empty terraced homes off Smithdown Road in Picton. People had until July 31 to apply – and by the closing date 2,560 applications had been received. Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We have had tremendous interest in this scheme and we will now begin the hard job of assessing the applications against the eligibility and priority criteria. “We know from previous experience that some people who apply aren’t eligible, while others decide during the process that it isn’t for them or the properties aren’t what they are looking for. “Ultimately, this is about giving people the chance to get on the housing ladder as we seek to drive up the quality, standard and range of properties in the city. Self-employed taxi driver Jayalal Madde, 49, was the very first applicant to be allocated a house under the pilot scheme last year. He spent almost 12 month refurbishing his home and moved in with his wife and two children at Christmas. Cllr O’Byrne added: “Homes for a Pound is just one of a range of measures we are using to bring a total of 4,000 houses across the city back into use.” The homes targeted as part of the scheme are located in and around Britannia Avenue, Altcar Avenue, Childwall Avenue, Dorset Avenue, Bird Street, Richardson Street, Garrick Street, Tunstall Street and Webster Road. To apply, people needed to meet the following criteria: •             Live or work within the Liverpool City Council boundary •             Be in paid employment •             Be a first time buyer Additional priority is given to applicants with dependent children, who have a good credit history and can demonstrate that they have savings to fund the renovation of the property. Successful applicants are required to: •             Live in the property for a minimum of five years •             Refurbish the property to the Decent Homes Standard •             Comply with an agreed schedule of works The scheme is being split into separate phases based upon condition and geography and the city council will carry out remedial works on the properties that are in a particularly poor condition to make sure that they are viable for people to work on. People who have applied will be contacted by the end of October and advised about the next stage of the process.