Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paint Protest in 'War-Zone' Roads; Property Owner Hits out at Council Behaviour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paint Protest in 'War-Zone' Roads; Property Owner Hits out at Council Behaviour

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chloe Griffiths

A LANDLORD has spray-painted dozens of homes in protest at the way council chiefs have turned his community into a "war-zone".

Philip Cockburn has spent the past three days spray-painting nearly 50 houses in the Castletown area of Sunderland.

The 44-year-old property owner got permission from scores of householders to spray their homes with slogans, objecting to the money being offered by Sunderland Council for houses in the regeneration area.

He claims that since the council promised to regenerate the area five years ago, it has been buying houses and boarding them up - making the area derelict and a haven for trouble.

Now he says householders living in the area have no choice but to sell their homes to the council at knockdown prices.

The father-of-three claims the council is turning the area where he was born - and now owns 11 houses - into a war zone.

Mr Cockburn said: "This isn't really my battle, I can look after myself, but some of these people are elderly and don't feel like they have any choice.

"I was born in this area and they've turned it into a war zone. All the houses are shuttered up and it doesn't take long before there are kids hanging around causing trouble. People that live here vote Labour, it's mostly pitmen, and I can't believe this is the way a Labour council is treating them."

Mr Cockburn says that more than five years ago, council officials promised a masterplan of regeneration to bring new life into the area.

But householders are still waiting and in the meantime have watched the area fall into dec line.

He said: "It's my belief that people feel they have to move out of their homes.

"The council is buying houses for between pounds 45,000 and pounds 50,000 and in a couple of instances as little as pounds 25,000 - it has just totally de-valued the houses and is offering people paltry amounts. …

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