Beatles' property at the centre of five-year legal battle

Beatles' property at the centre of five-year legal battle


A two-up-two-down Victorian terraced house has been at the centre of a five-year-long dispute between a City Council, local residents, Beatles fans and its owner. 

Number 9 Madryn Street in Toxteth, Liverpool, locally referred to as the ‘Welsh Streets’ area, is the birthplace of former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

Since 2005 Liverpool City Council has been trying to launch a regeneration project to redevelop the area, but has been met by a constant barrage of protests from those who believe the houses are too culturally significant to demolish.

Because it’s not just one part of the fab four’s home they want to keep, many people believe the 400 houses originally up for demolition represent an important part of the city’s heritage, as the area was once home to Welsh dockers who helped build the city.

The ‘Welsh Streets’ area is made up of streets and roads bearing Welsh titles, named so after the community of dockers that once lived there. Most of the properties are owned by Liverpool City Council, but number 9, Ringo’s first pad, is privately owned.

Originally, the number of houses set to be demolished was set at around 400, however, this figure has swung back and forth between 150 and 470 as various protests have succeeded and then failed. Now it has settled to 300, with 150 going in the redevelopment’s first phase, due to start this September, and another 150 in the second phase scheduled for early 2011.

One campaign, specifically aimed at saving Ringo’s house from demolition, failed despite the rock star himself speaking out against the plans to knock it down. The campaign prompted Liverpool City Council to say the house had “no historical significance”, because Ringo lived there only three months after his birth.

That was in 2007. Following that campaign, rumours emerged that 9 Madryn Street would be knocked down and re-built brick by brick and displayed as an exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool.

Those discussions are now on hold and official demolition notices have reappeared in the street. And if all goes to plan Madryn Street will be bulldozed in the second phase of the redevelopment.

According to the BBC, Liverpool City Council is in negotiations with the property owner, but could issue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) if necessary. 

The council maintain that many of the houses are little more than slums and that the area is in dire need of regeneration.

"The properties in the Welsh Streets are in such a poor condition that demolition is the only option," said a council spokesman.

"The city council owns 95% of the properties in this area and there are only two remaining residents who we are currently in discussions with.

"Once demolition is complete, high quality residential developments will be built of affordable homes for sale and socially-rented housing offering the modern desirable homes with gardens which local residents deserve.

"Regeneration will hopefully secure a brighter future for an area which has previously suffered from blight and abandonment."



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