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.
It’s rained for the past couple of days. And more is forecast, but not until this evening.
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?
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.
And then suddenly:
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.
Passing quickly on, it’s across Park Road and down Beresford Road towards the river.
By this time the forecast of ‘no rain ’til this evening’ has been proved wrong.
Then I remember. It’s the last Friday before Christmas, and shopping hell is probably not a place I’d like to descend into.
On the other, some messages for us from the giant mural here?
By now, even though I’m not Scottish, I can find no better word for the weather than dreich.
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!