Affordable homes have risen from the ashes of a firebombed pub.
The Cygnet at Birkenhead in Wirral stood empty and neglected until the landmark building was rescued by Regenda Homes.
The housing association has spent the last nine months converting the once popular local hostelry into a pint-sized development of flats for affordable rent.
The Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Les Rowlands, who was invited to the official opening, said it was a superb regeneration project.
“We all know affordable housing is in short supply and this just fits the bill completely. I remember The Cygnet, I’ve actually had a pint in here. A lot of pubs have gone derelict and what a great way of bringing a brownfield site back into use, into something that we really do need in the community which is affordable housing.”
All 14 of the one and two bedroom flats at the newly named Cygnet Court on Watson Street have already been snapped up by local people looking for affordable rented accommodation.
One of the first to move in was Steven Simon who had been living alone and struggling to afford a larger three bedroom property.
“The bedroom tax came in and I couldn’t afford to pay it. I ended up losing my job and going through a lot of stress. Then I heard these flats were getting built and so I got in touch with Regenda. The support I got off them, as well as help getting back to work, has been absolutely fantastic,” said Simon.
The Cygnet once stood in the shadow of high rise flats and was part of a thriving community in the 1970s and 1980s. It was eventually abandoned and became the target of vandals. In 2013 the building was firebombed and extensively damaged.
Martin Davies, Regenda Homes’ director of development, says local people were pleased to see the building saved.
“They were delighted to see an eyesore removed and the old pub get a new lease of life. Pubs are often located in the heart of our communities and, when a development opportunity like this arises, they can really help us to regenerate local neighbourhoods,” said Martin.
Regenda Homes redeveloped the derelict pub in partnership with Wirral Council and local contractor Price Street Developments Ltd.