Residents to be forced from homes?

TOUGH powers have been passed which could allow Wakefield Council to force South Elmsall residents out of their homes, allowing a £17m regeneration masterplan to push ahead.

Wakefield Council agreed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the remaining properties on Gordon Place.

The council has already arranged to buy two of the five properties and said a CPO on the remaining three houses would only be used as a last resort.

Coun Peter Box, council leader, said: “I feel we should support this but we do need to work with these people and it should be very much a last resort. This should not be used as a blunt instrument.”

The estate is set to be torn down so Westfield Lane and the surrounding area can be transformed with new homes and leisure facilities.

Gordon Place and Oxford Street included 102 houses that were the subject of a 2.2m council-backed bid by Chevin Housing Association in 2002 to buy and demolish them.

Victor Street nearby was torn down in 2004.

A masterplan to regenerate the area was drawn up in 2006 and included plans for 850 new homes over a 10-year period. This includes 160 houses which are set to be built on the former Frickley Colliery site.

The scheme could also include a purpose-built community facility to replace Broad Lane Business Centre, new buildings for Carlton J&I School and a new play area.

David Fowles, Wakefield Council’s implementation manager, said: “We will be carrying out improvements around Victor Street.

“It’s overgrown and we want to do some planting which will involve local schools.”

There are also plans to improve boundary walls, provide off-street parking and improve roads.