Peter Byrne/PA

The former housing minister, Grant Shapps, signed off a regeneration project without realising it would demolish the house in which Ringo Starr was born, the Telegraph reports today.

A court heard today how the Conservative Party Chairman's plans to regenerate the Welsh Streets area of Liverpool were subject to backlash but it was impossible to undo the the plans because too much public money had already been spent.


Mr Shapps announced news of grants to overhaul run-down areas of Liverpool in November 2011, but it later emerged that the £35.5 million regeneration project would involve 5,000 demolitions, including the childhood home of the Beatle's drummer.


In June Mr Shapps intervened to prevent the destruction of Starr's house which he described as a "beacon of Beatlemania." A further 16 homes on the street were spared but another 400 in the area were demolished.

The Telegraph reports that government lawyers conceded at the High Court today that the regeneration project was unlawful as it contradicted government policy, but argued that they could not backtrack as much of the funds had already been spent.

Now a High Court judge has ordered a full judicial review of the decision.

Contention
The Welsh streets, so named as once being home to Welsh stonemasons who built much of the city, have emerged as the most contested area in the controversial Pathfinder scheme. Pathfinder was the name given to the housing policy implemented by John Prescott in 2003, which saw widespread demolitions across the north of England.

Despite the formal end of Pathfinder last November, government funding has continued to subsidise such schemes.

Richard Harwood, barrister for SAVE Britain's Heritage, argued in court that the regeneration project went against government policy to protect the historic terraces and amounted to a continuation of Pathfinder by stealth.

SAVE is urging Liverpool Council to consider alternative plans for the houses. Marcus Binney, president of SAVE, said: "SAVE has been fighting Pathfinder demolitions for over 8 years – these monstrous wasteful demolitions of terraced housing mus stop immediately.

"The general belief is that that government has brought them to halt but Liverpool continues with this disastrous programme."



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