I read an article in the Burngreave Messenger that dismayed me, stating that money raised from the Page Hall area – a projected total of £1.7 million – is not going to be invested in the area.
The money raised from Page Hall should be reinvested in Page Hall. To be told there are no projects needing funding in the area is ridiculous. The talk is all about housing but regeneration should be about community regeneration, not just bricks and mortar, and this is what was originally promised.
To make a profit on an area like Page Hall, that is very poor. Then to use the money to fund projects in wealthier areas is yet another example of a policy of taking from the poor to benefit the wealthy. This was introduced by the Lib-Dems but surely the current Labour administration can now overturn this ruling?
Harry Harpham is incorrect if he believes there are no local projects on which to spend the money generated in the area. Several projects were identified as far back as 2005/6 that could have a dramatic impact on the area, for example:
Back-to-Front campaign, where retaining walls to properties were strengthened and reinforced and rear gardens improved.
Redevelopment of Bagley Road and Skinnerthorpe Road plus the three houses, now boarded up and derelict, on Barnsley Road.
“Pocket Park” areas for children to play, such as the site at the bottom of Wade Street and close to Owler Brook School.
Walking link from Page Hall to Wincobank Hill, with sign markers and information points about the Iron Age fort.
Improvements to the condition of the streets and footpaths
Funding for youth group facilities and improvements in general to Wensley Community Centre.
Provision of local support services for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable, including help with maintenance, DIY and the garden.
These are just a few projects needed in the area, and I am sure there are many more besides.
Most worrying of all, the article states that the council are keen to attract landlords to the area. One of the key points that Page Hall Community Association (PHCA) was fighting for was to stop buyto- let landlords acquiring all the property in the area. Surely the council and the government should be backing the sale of these houses as affordable housing to first time buyers and key workers? After all, the area is less than 1 mile from the Northern General Hospital. By re-investing the money in Page Hall as originally intended and promoting affordable housing, it will bring about a better community.
All in all, I am dismayed and angered to read about these recent policy changes and what they mean for an area that has had so many people fighting to save it.
Is there anything that can be done to secure the investment for the area before it is taken away by greed and ill-thought-through policies?
Former committee member of Page Hall Community Association
The Messenger raised this issue with Councillor Harry Harpham, Cabinet Member for Homes and Regeneration on 26th October. He said cuts in funding from government had left some streets in the city blighted by half finished projects and boarded up houses, and these were the priority for remaining funding. He said he would meet with Page Hall residents to discuss the issues they had raised. The Messenger will report back on this in the next issue.