2012: Friday Walks, Home for Christmas?

A solo walk today. Why? Well, longest night of the year causing outbreak of hibernation. Plus, Sarah had a busy day yesterday with Gemma and the Five Seasons Community Gardening Project. They’d spent an enjoyable day at Can Cook in Garston. And this morning she was tired. So there, I’m on my own.

And the city is very wet.

And the city is very wet.

It’s rained for the past couple of days. And more is forecast, but not until this evening.

Along Ullet Road and Windermere Terrace, through to Princes Park.

Along Ullet Road and Windermere Terrace, through to Princes Park.

All is quiet.

All is quiet.

Out through the magnificent Sun Gates.

Out through the magnificent Sun Gates.

Then round the corner into Kelvin Grove. Why are these houses all tinned up?

Then round the corner into Kelvin Grove. Why are these houses all tinned up?

When the houses opposite are obviously fine?

When the houses opposite are obviously fine?

Well, I know the answer. And so do the people who live around here. Welcome to the Welsh Streets. Find out much more about what I’m about to show you here.

So yes, the Welsh Streets?

Wynnstay Street.

Wynnstay Street.

Voelas Street.

Voelas Street.

Rhiwlas Street.

Rhiwlas Street.

Powis Street.

Powis Street.

When we last saw this it was playing the part of a grimy industrial street in a film. The film’s made now, but the film makers didn’t clean up afterwards. Ready for more? Bear with me, I’ve got a point to make here.

Madryn Street.

Madryn Street.

Kinmel Street.

Kinmel Street.

And then suddenly:

Gwydir Street.

Gwydir Street.

Yes, nearly all lived in. We’ve obviously reached the end of the would-be building site. So this street, clearly much like all the others you’ve just seen, has a future, and they don’t?

So what is happening to all these empty homes? In the words of local people from their site:

“The fight to save hundreds of homes in Liverpool’s Welsh Streets from demolition began in 2004. Even though the government has cut the HMRI scheme responsible for condemning the area, the threat remains. In 2012, Liverpool City Council agreed to release 32 houses from demolition, but intend to clear 287 houses in the near future and more than 100 more in the long term.

Our core campaign message has always been to seek alternatives to demolition, but since no-one responded we have done it ourselves. Artist and committee member Nina Edge devised Design Diplomacy as a way of improving place-making and resolving delay on the contested Welsh Streets site. She has recruited a firm of architects and briefed them to produce sample ideas for the public and key stakeholders to discuss.

More information about the house types will be posted as soon as it is available. So far we have structural surveys for Kelvin Grove 3-Storey Town Houses where 16 houses will be available subject to public demand. We await information for a further 16 in Madryn Street scheduled for repair.

Everyone’s feedback is useful – so please fill in a quick survey so that the key players can learn about public demand for existing house types – primarily Victorian and 1950′s terraces.”

So, things are happening. There is hope. As there is just along the road for the streets of Granby. And maybe by next Christmas there’ll be real evidence of progress. Of making good use of all of these empty homes? For the people in the area now. The people who used to be and could be again. And all of those being forced to live in expensive private lets. Or still living with parents well into their 30s. We need as many affordable homes as we can find. And reusing all these empty ones seems to make sense on every level.

Stay in touch with the latest news from the Welsh Streets and how you can help, here.

We walk on.

Past the lovely Toxteth Indoor Reservoir.

Past the lovely Toxteth Indoor Reservoir.

This was used recently for an event that was part of the Liverpool Biennial, and there are some ambitious plans to revitalise it. Here’s what it looks like inside:

Imagine what use the people could make of this when all the empty homes are lived in?

Imagine what use the people could make of this when all the empty homes are lived in?

Meanwhile, up next, as far as the eye can see, is Tesco.

Meanwhile, up next, as far as the eye can see, is Tesco.

Passing quickly on, it’s across Park Road and down Beresford Road towards the river.

Streets of terraced houses being happily lived in.

Streets of terraced houses being happily lived in.

By this time the forecast of ‘no rain ’til this evening’ has been proved wrong.

Closer to the river.

Closer to the river.

High on the cliff overlooking the coast.

High on the cliff overlooking the coast.

I briefly consider turning towards the city.

I briefly consider turning towards the city.

Then I remember. It’s the last Friday before Christmas, and shopping hell is probably not a place I’d like to descend into.

So I turn towards the Docker's Steps.

So I turn towards the Docker’s Steps.

Passing some pyrocanthra, 'fire-thorn' - often the last berry around as winter bites, says Sarah.

Passing some pyrocanthra, ‘fire-thorn’ – ‘often the last berry around as winter bites’ says Sarah.

And also passing street...

And also passing street after street…

After street of terraced housing. currently these are amongst the most affordable streets in Liverpool to buy your first house. So we need more don't we?

Of terraced housing. Currently these are among the most affordable streets in Liverpool to buy your first house. So we need more don’t we?

Down the Docker's Steps.

Down the Docker’s Steps.

On one side, where the Herculaneum Dock used to be, modern apartments.

On one side, where the Herculaneum Dock used to be, modern apartments.

On the other, some messages for us from the giant mural here?

'Liverpool has hope'

‘Liverpool has hope’

'Turn the tide'

‘Turn the tide’

By now, even though I’m not Scottish, I can find no better word for the weather than dreich.

What dreich looks like.

What dreich looks like.

So, wet and getting wetter, I turn for home.

If you’ve been following you probably know the route by now. Past the Festival Gardens, through St Michael’s wood, along Lark Lane and across the park, to home. Home for Christmas? Not in our case. We’re at home. But Christmas doesn’t happen in it. We’ll enjoy ourselves anyway, though!

4 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, Home for Christmas?

  1. Gerry

    I love the view from the top of Harlow Street (the river, the opposite shore, the Welsh hills). I think it’s my favourite view in the city. See it a lot on the way to see our daughter who lives in one of those apartments at the old Herculaneum Dock site at the foot of the dockers’ stairs. Hence the blog post I wrote which you may like: http://wp.me/poJrg-115
    Hope you both have a lovely Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Gerry, wasn’t much of a view today! Three grey lines which could be roughly identified as the river, Wirral and Wales. Thanks for the link, I’ll go and read.

      And I hope you have a great time too, thanks.

      Reply
  2. cheethamlib

    Wonderful streetscapes and what idiocy to leave all those terraces boarded and desolate. After all there is a growing trend towards apartment and town house living in cities and here the terrace comes into its own- very poor thinkingon the part of city planners but good to know that action is taking place amongst independent groups. And there is that amazing reservoir – I could see a library in that building.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      ‘Very poor thinking on the part of city planners’ seems to be their default setting, sadly. But the determination of our friend Nina and the other Welsh Streets campaigners is proving inexhaustible. They will overcome.

      Reply

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