The Government has stepped in to temporarily save the house where Ringo Starr began his life in Liverpool.
The ex-Beatles’ drummer, real name Richard Starkey, was born at 9 Madryn Street in July 1940 and lived there until he was four years old. It is one of 445 pre-1919 terraced houses in the Dingle’s Welsh Streets neighbourhood facing demolition under plans to regenerate the area. A nearby property, 10 Admiral Grove, where Ringo lived for 20 years, will remain standing. English Heritage has twice declined an application to list 9 Madryn Street, saying it is not associated with the success of the Beatles and is not of suffcient architectural or historic importance.
Liverpool City Council has said it would be “impractical” to retain the property on its own as it is in the centre of a terrace. Officials had been set to approve plans to bulldoze the dilapidated properties at a meeting on Tuesday. However, an email and letter sent by Housing Minister Grant Shapps at the 11th hour has forced them to delay making a decision. In the letter, Mr Shapps said there must first consider whether an Environmental Impact Assessment was required – a move that could mean a delay of 12 months or more.
The letter stated: “In exercise of his powers under Article 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010, the Secretary of State hereby directs your Council not to grant planning permission for this application without special authorisation.”
Mr Shapps’ intervention has been welcomed by Philip Coppell, chairman of the Save Madryn Street campaign. “Number 9 Madryn Street is irreplaceable,” he said. “It’s a precious piece of Beatles history and of vital importance to the city and its growing tourism industry.”
The Liverpool homes of John Lennon – Mendips, in Menlove Avenue – and Sir Paul McCartney – in Forthlin Road – are popular tourist attractions run by the National Trust. George Harrison’s childhood home in Arnold Grove remains is privately owned, while the Cavern Club, where the Beatles used to perform, was demolished in the 1970s.