It's not every day Stoke-on-Trent makes national headlines. Even rarer it does so for the right reasons, but the new homes for £1 scheme has certainly caught the media's eye. As the BBC puts it:
More than 600 people are interested in buying rundown homes in Stoke-on-Trent for £1 each, the city council has said.More here.
Thirty-five derelict homes, mainly two-bedroom terraced properties, will initially be sold off in the Cobridge area, with a further 89 to follow.
Under the £3m project, the local authority is offering loans of up to £30,000 to help complete essential repairs on the houses.
Applications opened for potential buyers on Monday.
People have until 12 May to apply for one.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the initial 35 homes would be randomly allocated to the successful applicants.
The majority are two-bedroom, but there are also a few three-bedroom houses and possibly some flats.
Anyone applying must have lived in the city for the past three years.
Other criteria they must satisfy include:
A joint income of £18,000 to £25,000 a year - £30,000 maximum if they have children
Applicants must have been employed for the past two years
They must not own another property
They must have the right to live permanently in the UK
The new house must be their main home for at least five years
The Portland Street area, to which this report refers has some of the very worst housing I have ever seen, let alone in Stoke-on-Trent. I recall door knocking in the area back in 2008 before the boards went up and speaking to a householder whose next door had a massive hole in its roof. There was another house, boarded up and covered in moss from a broken drain pipe that had, according to my fellow canvasser, been like that when he lived on the street 20 years previously.
As housing for families on modest incomes, with loan repayment rates far more attractive than any mortgage, and as a relatively self-contained area a stone's throw away from the city centre this represents the innovative sort of regeneration Stoke has needed for years. It's just a shame it's taken until now for the scheme to get kickstarted. Nevertheless credit where credit is due.