Middlesbrough's Gresham estate revamp plans on hold

Gresham, Middlesbrough
Image caption In 2013 plans to demolish 1,500 properties were halted in Gresham which is mostly derelict and has been plagued by crime

Plans to revamp an estate once described as "a cancer" have been sent back to the drawing board.

Middlesbrough's Gresham area is mostly derelict after years of failed attempts to redevelop it.

Independent mayor Andy Preston had agreed to lease 7.5 acres (3 hectares) to social housing group Thirteen, which wants to build 179 new homes.

Labour said there had been "inadequate consultation" and the decision will now be reconsidered by the town council.

Last month, council leader Mr Preston said he hoped the decision would bring people back into the town centre, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reports.

On Monday, at a meeting of the authority's overview and scrutiny board, Labour group leader Matthew Storey claimed the decision had been made on the basis of "inadequate consultation" and "inaccurate evidence".

'Spoke in the wheel'

He said he was in favour of a revamp but wanted it to be done "in the right way".

Independent councillor Chris Hobson told Mr Storey: "You've had 20-odd years to develop this site - you haven't done anything at all.

"Then as soon as a really good proposal comes forward where we have somebody that can get grants quite easily, and can go out and develop the whole site, you want to put a spoke in the wheel."

When the matter went to a vote, Labour won by a margin of six to three to send the matter back to the executive.

A meeting will be arranged within the next 10 working days to reconsider the decision.

In 2013, former mayor Ray Mallon, who branded Gresham "a cancer that needs to be cut out", halted plans to demolish 1,500 properties, admitting the scheme was too ambitious.

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