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£1 Houses: The Starting Price To Bring Hope Back To Stoke-On-Trent's Streets

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http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/29/one-pound-houses-stoke-on-trent-regeneration

It's a cold, bright winter's morning in the Portland Street area of Stoke-on-Trent. A pair of shoes hang from an electricity pylon, there is rubbish strewn through the alleys and along the pavement, and the pub at the end of the road has long been closed.

Someone from the council says this is an area in need of a bit of love, and the evidence is all around.

Yet inside the community centre, politely sipping cups of tea, are a collection of excited would-be homeowners who have signed up to live in this part of the city.

The council has made a cardboard model of the red-brick terraced streets outside. One by one, families and couples are being called up to lift one of the roofs to reveal a key to the front door of the home they will eventually move into. A £1 house, of sorts, in need of an awful lot of tender loving care.

These houses are not quite £1, although that was the headline figure that brought in hundreds of applications, and camera crews from China and Russia. Houseowners – who need to be living in Stoke or working here to be eligible – will also commit to paying £30,000 for the restorations, but – even in a neglected part of Stoke-on-Trent – this is still something of a bargain.

Work began in earnest this month, with contractors stripping out the rotten cores of some of these old houses, ready to install new plumbing and electrics, bathrooms and kitchens. When the properties are done, while they still need carpets and a lick of paint, they will be hardly recognisable.

Will it put new life back into these estates?

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The bill should be sent to one (Lord) John Prescott - a complete idiot of a human being.

And I'm currently enjoying watching the local vandals from the enforced 'affordable homes' area of my new development ripping down newly planted tress, scrawling graffiti on walls & pushing shopping trolleys into the river. Strange that the kids from this side aren't doing it.

God bless the Prescott.

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The bill should be sent to one (Lord) John Prescott - a complete idiot of a human being.

And I'm currently enjoying watching the local vandals from the enforced 'affordable homes' area of my new development ripping down newly planted tress, scrawling graffiti on walls & pushing shopping trolleys into the river. Strange that the kids from this side aren't doing it.

God bless the Prescott.

I was told on the benefits street thread that people like that dont exist so you must be imagining things

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"We will pay back the council … at the moment that's £290 a month. It is £100 less than rent around Stoke. And it is still a lot cheaper than [buying] a normal house. For anything like this, it would be about £40k-£50k."

They've overpaid imo. Should have stuck to renting, and waiting for hpc.

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I was told on the benefits street thread that people like that dont exist so you must be imagining things

Well, they must be rather naive. I've lived in a lot of poor areas and while there's plenty of decent folks living there - there's a significant minority who make everyone else's life a misery. Oddly enough, Yorkshire was far worse than east London in this respect.

In the first year of living in west Leeds, the missus and I endured racist abuse, paint bombs thrown at the front door and stones hurled at the windows. Amusingly, the racist abuse came from a gang with a mixture of races in it. We weren't alone - everybody in the area got the same although as newbies we got a little more than the rest. After about 3 years it came to end with the arrival of about a dozen ASBO notices for various individuals in the area shoved through our letter box and the gang basically vanished overnight. The bribes we offered the local kids on Halloween might have helped as well.

As we left, a new gang of young thugs was coming of age - and so the cycle would begin again. Almost as a parting shot they threw a lit firework into the back of our removal van.

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As we left, a new gang of young thugs was coming of age - and so the cycle would begin again. Almost as a parting shot they threw a lit firework into the back of our removal van.

This is one of the problems. Yobs have little brothers who have seen and heard the tales of what they did.

I think one thing that helps is knowing what they're called. That way you can speak to them directly by name and then they know you know who they are and where they live.

Sometimes there's no point knowing where they live cos the parents are worse.

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