Multi-million pound plans to regenerate deprived inner city suburbs of Birmingham and make them more desirable places to live have been given the go-ahead.
Council leaders approved a package of “interventions” in areas of north-west Birmingham including Aston, Soho and Lozells which are being funded from a £53 million housing regeneration package from central Government.
Part of the funding will go towards revamping run-down areas in Sandwell which are also included under the scheme for the region, called the Urban Living programme.
The Birmingham and Sandwell project is one of nine Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders in the UK aiming to change the environment and image of unpopular inner city areas.
The approval at the city council cabinet will see schemes in Aston, Birchfield, Lozells, Soho, Hockley/Spring Hill and Summerfield/Winson Green developed.
Councillor John Lines (Con Bartley Green), cabinet member for housing, said: “Regeneration plans are beginning to emerge for key neighbhourhoods in north-west Birmingham and the Urban Living programme is helping those deprived areas to regenerate into sustainable neighbourhoods of housing choice.
“This is a long term programme of work and will take up to 15 years to fully realise, but these ambitions have to start somewhere and we have begun the journey.”
The project will see some buildings demolished and replaced with modern accommodation while others will be refurbished in a bid to stimulate the housing market in areas that have gained a bad reputation.
Work will initially begin restoring Victorian and Edwardian houses and re-converting property that had been turned into bedsits back into family homes in areas of high demand in Lozells.
Three high rise tower blocks in Birchfield will also to be turned into city-living style apartments and other projects are to be announced over the next two years.
The Urban Living scheme is funded through the Department for Communities and Local Government and covers an area with a population of 150,000.
It extends from the edge of Birmingham city centre in a north-westerly direction over the boundary with neighbouring Sandwell.
Other wards included in it are Newtown, Winson Green, Handsworth, Smethwick, West Bromwich and Greets Green.