City left with choice: Bulldoze Beatle's former home or let it be

A GOVERNMENT Minister has moved to halt controversial plans to bulldoze the former home of former Beatle Ringo Starr.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has written to Liverpool City Council calling for a temporary reprieve for 9 Madryn Street, in Dingle.

He believes conservationists need more time to put forward their ideas for preserving the property.

Demolition of the house, where the drummer was born and lived until he was three months old, is due to take place under a multimillion pound housing regeneration scheme.

Mr Shapps said: "Any regeneration project will generate strong feelings. But when what many people consider to be a culturally important building – such as the birthplace of the drummer in the world's most famous band – is at risk then feelings are going to be even stronger.

"That is why, before a single bulldozer rumbles along Madryn Street, I want to ensure that every option has been considered.

"In particular I want local community groups to have the opportunity to put forward viable proposals to preserve this historic house. This gives an opportunity to look at the imaginative reuse of terrace housing – which has proved popular and successful elsewhere.

"It is right that the people of Liverpool themselves decide whether they want Ringo Starr's house to be demolished or to let it be."

The Government has also received a formal request from campaign group Save Britain's Heritage to direct Liverpool City Council to halt the demolition and sell off the land.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is considering this request in the normal way, a spokeswoman said.

A total of 445 pre-1919 terraced houses in Dingle's "Welsh Streets" neighbourhood will be torn down as part of the scheme.

A nearby home, 10 Admiral Grove, where Starr, now 70, lived for 20 years, will remain standing.

The decision to demolish was made in August but a meeting of Liverpool's planning committee is required this month to finalise the technical details involved.

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