Senior councillors in Caerphilly have signed-off plans to buy homes on Wales’ most polluted streets to ensure they are knocked down on schedule.
The county borough council has agreed to buy and demolish 23 properties on the A472 in Hafodyrynys – where nitrogen dioxide levels have been recorded as the highest in the UK outside central London – to improve air quality targets in the shortest possible time.
Of the 23 homes, 22 have agreed to a voluntary sale, and the council says it is confident that all 23 can be dealt in this way.
But to ensure the authority completes the project on schedule, the council says a Compulsory Purchase Order process is required.
In the council’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Barbara Jones said: “I would love to see this successfully concluded.
“It has been a long process.”
Demolishing properties in Woodside Terrace, Woodside Shops and Yr Adfa at Hafodyrynys Road, will allow a footpath to be realigned and the project to be completed by December, 2021.
The council is to offer residents on the street 50% above the market rate for the purchase of their homes, to ensure they do not lose out financially.
The Welsh Government will only compensate residents for 30% above the market rate.
Last month, the cabinet agreed to set aside the remaining £268,000 to ensure that residents are compensated the full 50% above the market rate.
The funds will be taken from the Environmental Health revenue budget where there’s a projected underspend for 2019-20 of £296,000, if the Welsh Government doesn’t agree to fund the shortfall.