'It's a dream come true': Lucky buyer receives key to £1 house as scheme in Liverpool puts empty properties back into use across the city

Self-employed taxi driver first applicant to be allocated home as more than 1,000 people apply for one of 20 properties

A spacious four bedroom Victorian terrace, large reception, two bathrooms, many period features within walking distance of the city, park and all other amenities. In need of some renovation.

It is the kind of property description that would give estate agents in many parts of the country palpitations in anticipation of six and seven figure offers.

Yet taxi driver Jayalal Madde took his first step onto the property ladder today when he bought a house answering the above description in Cairns Street, Liverpool, for the nominal price of a quid.

“It is totally a dream come true. I wanted to become a home owner in this country but it was very, very difficult to get a mortgage from the bank,” explained Mr Madde as he took possession of the keys from Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson in return for a £1 coin.

It means for the first time since they moved to Britain from Sri Lanka eight years ago, Mr Madde’s daughters Nihinsa, 12 and Sinali, 10, will have their own rooms.

The house is one of 20 owned by Liverpool City Council which is to be offered for sale for £1 in a bid to help regenerate local communities.

The Maddes beat more than 1,000 other applicants to have their bid accepted on the property which needs an estimated £30,000 of repairs to make it habitable.

Mr Madde, 48, had saved enough with a local credit union working 60 hour weeks in his cab to secure a loan to pay for the work. They now expect to move out of their ground floor flat and into the red brick terrace in six months’ time.

“Today I saw the inside for the first time. There is an entire floor that needs to be redone and we have to knock down some walls but it is not in very bad condition. The roof is OK and there are no structural problems so I am happy,” he said.

Successful applicants had to agree to live in the house for at least five years and be genuine local first time buyers with sufficient funds to carry out the work.

Cairns Street is part of the once notorious Granby Triangle which was scene of the 1981 Toxteth riots and whose shuttered and empty properties then became a focus of drug dealing. Liverpool City Council bought up many of the remaining homes, rehousing the occupants.

Since then terraces have been bought back by owner occupiers  - many of them from the city’s Asian communities – their wrought ironwork repainted and life breathed slowly back into a once dying neighbourhood which even won a Britain in Bloom award. 

Residents have formed a community land trust and bought their homes through a housing co-operative. Yet still only 20 per cent of the homes, originally built for the city’s middle classes, are occupied.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who is facing the opposition of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles over his council’s decision to demolish 440 homes in the nearby Welsh Streets area of the city – though not the former home of Beatle Ringo Starr – said it would be a challenge to make the homes habitable.

He said: “We are only looking for people who have a genuine commitment to bringing these properties back to life and turning them into a home they are proud to live in. We're confident that Mr Madde is one such individual,” he said.

In Stoke-on-Trent more than 600 people applied when the local council offered 35 derelict homes for £1 under a similar scheme earlier this year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed