June 2015 update: Eldon Grove restoration now at Cabinet after full Council discussions in April. Liverpool Mutual Homes ‘may start work during the summer’ according to the Liverpool Echo.
“Documents prepared for the cabinet say Eldon Grove, which is currently classed as a “Building at Risk”, will be able to be brought back into use with developers confident refurbishment could start during the summer.
A report which went before the council in April said the development costs are estimated to be in the region of £6.6 million, of which the council is being asked to contribute £1.25 million which in turn would “would unlock other streams of funding, thereby securing delivery of the project and remove Eldon Grove from the Buildings at Risk Register”.
Eldon Grove is to be saved. The lease on it is in the process of being transferred to Liverpool Mutual Homes, who will restore it.
The news came to me through the unlikely avenue of a picture of Bill Shankly:
I’d seen the picture before but always enjoy seeing the great man in one of my favourite places.
Anyway, it’s a rainy Saturday ‘wet play’ sort of morning and I’m idly checking through Twitter, when the Bill photo almost distracts me from what else is being said. Here’s the full exchange once I get involved:So, brilliant news. And for the moment that’s all I know.
‘LMH’ are Liverpool Mutual Homes, the stock transfer housing association who received what was left of Liverpool’s Council Housing stock in 2007. So it’s fitting really that Eldon Grove too should pass to them for its safe-keeping.
If you’ve been around this blog a while you will, of course, have heard about Eldon Grove before. I lamented about its state and future during my North Docks walk last November. And then just the other week Sarah and I came to check on it during our 27 bus adventure.
My affection for this lovely place began when I worked around Scotland Road for Liverpool City housing department in the early 1970s. Something I was reminiscing about on here just the other day. In truth, though the building was still lived in at that time it’s slow decline had already begun. And years of poor maintenance and failed regeneration plans would eventually reduce it to the ‘Dangerous Site’ it’s known as today.
But it began, in 1912, in utter splendour.
Council housing had been invented in Liverpool in the 19th century. And by the early decades of the 20th century the City was building beautiful housing like Eldon Grove and its neighbouring Bevington Street and Summerseat houses. And if you’re interested you can read the history of all of this at this beautiful post by fellow blogger Municipal Dreams.
But by now, having got the good news about Eldon Grove I just have to go and have a look at it, rain or no rain.
Pausing frequently to wipe the rain off the lens.
At this point I realise that I’m looking at the building in a completely different way from even a few weeks ago. Now I know it will be saved I’m treasuring the details, looking at it practically, working out what will need to be done. Not photographing a campaign now, I realise I might be taking the first photographs of Eldon Grove’s rebirth.
And well done to Liverpool City and thanks to Councillor Malcolm Kennedy for passing on the good news.
And LMH, Liverpool Mutual Homes? Well. you’ve got a job to do but it’s the job you exist for. In 2006 me and Sarah worked with your Board, made up largely of City Council tenants, when you were getting ready for the transfer ballot. And together we all made up this short sentence defining what you would be for. And I know it’s still displayed in your offices:
“For Liverpool, for the future, for everyone.”
Your future has now arrived and we place Eldon Grove in your hands. Take great care of it.
Update: As of December 2014 little movement has taken place on the redevelopment of Eldon Grove into 45 new homes. But Liverpool Council announce they are confident it will be underway by Summer 2015.