Regeneration of Chatsworth Gardens (Morecambe)
I am presenting this petition tonight on behalf of over 600 people in Morecambe who want to see the town’s west end regenerated.
By way of background, the Housing and Communities Agency allocated Lancaster city council £1.9 million in May 2012. In order to bid for the funding, the council had to pledge to match-fund the HCA contribution. This money was to be used to bring a cluster of empty homes in Chatsworth Gardens into use. Everything was fine, or so we thought, until I received a letter from the chief executive on 17 September stating that there was
“a very real prospect that the Council will have to send the money already allocated back to the Government”
because the council could not afford the £1.9 million match funding.
People in the west end of Morecambe got very angry and concerned indeed. Since the petition was signed, the council has miraculously claimed that there was never any danger of the match funding not being in place. In fact, one council officer said he was “bemused” by the suggestion that the money may have to be returned. Lancaster city council wrote to me saying that it did not have the match funding, and now it does. I have spent some time trying to get to the bottom of this, only to unearth even more questions.
The petition demands that the west end of Morecambe be regenerated without delay, using the money allocated by the Government. I thank Mr Steve Swithin for collecting the names, and the people of the west end of Morecambe for fighting back. I commend the petition to the House and hope that Lancaster city council will take note of my constituents.
Following is the full text of the petition:
[The Humble Petition of residents of Morecambe,
That the Petitioners support the campaign by Steve Swithin to regenerate the West End and the Petitioners understand that Lancaster City Council will receive £1.9 million to tackle clusters of empty homes in their area bringing 114 empty homes back into use.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Department for Communities and Local Government to spend all of the mentioned £1.9 million on redevelopment for Morecambe’s West End.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.]