Demolition work to rip down an eyesore Bradford ghetto – dubbed death row – has begun.

Work has started to regenerate part of the Goitside area of the city centre, with the demolition of a ‘U’ shaped block of flats bordered by Baptist Place, Chain Street and Longcroft Place.

The area had been known locally as death row because of its dereliction, which led it to become a haunt for prostitutes, drunks and drug users.

The on-site demolition and site clearance will take about six weeks and it will pave the way for a development of much needed family-sized homes for rent and outright sale.

The work is being carried out on behalf of Incommunities, the district’s biggest social landlord, which described it as a key scheme.

The group last year secured a £960,000 grant from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency for the Roundhill Place and Chain Street development, as well as an additional £100,000 from the Council’s Empty Properties Programme.

The money is funding the demolition, the refurbishment of two blocks and will contribute to the building of the first ten affordable homes. Plans for the site include a total of 33 family-sized homes and work is due to start early next year.

Jez Lester, Incommunities’ assistant chief executive, asset management said: “The re-development of the Chain Street area is a key priority for Incommunities and this site clearance marks a big step towards the regeneration of this key site for the benefit for city centre home hunters.

“It also makes good business sense to re-use the site to provide affordable larger homes. We are working with Bradford Council to finalise a scheme and secure funding that will deliver just that.

“It comes as work is under way on a block conversion to create 16 family-sized homes for rent at Chain Street. This scheme is due to be completed by next March and is unique in offering new family sized houses within the city centre.

“Delivering phase two would also play an important role in the regeneration of the Goitside area.”

Conversions of more than 60 bedsit and flats into 16 houses at Chain Street and Roundhill Place is also under way with a Homes and Communities Agency grant, with work due for completion in March 2013.

Councillor Nazam Azam (Lab, City) welcomed the start of demolition work. “I have seen the plans and I think they are very impressive, not only the housing but also the recreation facilities” he said. “We do have a shortage of housing and there is a need.

“This is not one of the most prosperous areas and it has had its problems with anti-social behaviour but the Council and Incommunities has this as one of its main priorities and I am thankful that work has started.

“It is a positive for Bradford and I believe that once the work is completed it will be a prosperous area.”

Councillor Ruqayyah Collector (Respect, City) said: “It is a good thing because it is a positive for the community. There is a massive shortage of housing and long waiting lists so anything we can do to help is welcome.”

Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for housing, said: “This is another important step forward in delivering high-quality family housing and helping transform an area which has blighted Goitside for sometime.”