Wondrous Day

And so, on 9th October 2014 it all came together, and ‘the chink of light’ we spoke about four springtimes ago shone brightly on Granby 4 Streets as history turned up and witnessed the community of the place, at long last, take a formal stake in the future. Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust is launched with ‘Our First 10 Homes’ project.

The day begins quietly on Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.

The day begins quietly on Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.

Liverpool Mutual Homes are already on site on one side of the street.

People begin to gather.

People begin to gather.

Interviews begin to happen.

Interviews begin to happen.

Here is Erika Rushton of Plus Dane, also on site elsewhere in the 4 Streets. Erika is Chair of the Community Land Trust.

One of the houses is open to view pictures and plans. Of how things are...

One of the houses is open to view pictures and plans. Of how things are…

And how things will be.

And how things will be.

Outside the street ids filling up.

Outside the street is filling up.

Jimi Jagney is interviewed by the BBC.

Jimi Jagne is interviewed by the BBC.

Jimi has lived in the 4 Streets all his life, is a CLT Board member and is viewed by us all as the Community Historian.

Soon it's time for the formalities to begin.

Soon it’s time for the formalities to begin.

The children of the place, the future of the place, open up the future with their drums.

The sacred drums of Beatlife, so often the rhythm of here.

The sacred drums of Beatlife, so often the rhythm of here.

Alalstair from Beatlife, conducting today, tells us that several of the children have only had 3 drumming lessons so far. And for all of them it’s their first gig. Like us all they are entering a new place today. And they do so with great confidence.

And to complete approval from the rest of us.

And to complete approval from the rest of us.

At this point the ‘sunny intervals’ are replaced by a serious deluge. So the hundred and more of us here huddle together under the gazebos for the speeches.

Erika begins. Welcoming, enthusing and crediting. Erika begins. Welcoming, enthusing and crediting.

Erika begins. Welcoming, enthusing and crediting.

Next up is Ann O'Byrne.

Next up is Ann O’Byrne.

“Old problems need new solutions – and in developing the Granby 4 Streets area, we have worked with a complex mix of partners to pull together a major refurbishment programme. Granby 4 Streets is at the forefront of the Urban Community Land Trust movement in the North West – and we are proud to support it”.

Ann O’Byrne, Cabinet Member for Housing, Liverpool City Council

Ann has been a great and consistent friend to us all in these years of pulling all this together.

Ann has been a great and consistent friend to us all in these years of pulling all this together.

And we would not be here without her.

And we would not be here without her.

Next up is our Theresa.

Next up is our Theresa.

Theresa MacDermott was part of the Granby Residents Association’s successful fight to block the demolition of the 4 Streets in 1994, worked for Shelter for years, and is now on the Board of the CLT and one of the principal organisers of the 4 Streets Market.

Again we wouldn't be here, and the streets wouldn't be here, without her.

Again we wouldn’t be here, and the streets wouldn’t be here, without her.

Also here is someone very, very special. Des McConaghy.

Also here is someone very, very special to me. Des McConaghy.

Des got in touch with me through the blog late last year because Granby is also a special place to him. Between 1968 and 1972 Des ran the Shelter Neighbourhood Action Project here, working with the then small local housing associations and all the residents to show that a neighbourhood approach to renewal could work. And though Granby has had its ups and downs since then, it’s also true to say of Des that without him these streets might not be here at all. One of the spirits of the place and so right and fitting that he is here on this historic day.

Still raining, so Jules sings from a doorway stage.

Still raining, so Jules sings from a doorway stage.

Applauded by fellow singer Iris. And by Eleanor Lee.

Applauded by fellow singer Iris here. And by Eleanor Lee.

Who, though she’ll likely and skillfully curse me for saying it, is the driving spirit of the Community Land Trust.

There are pancakes for all.

There are pancakes for all.

Bringing the spirit of the 4 Streets Markets to the occasion.

Oliver Wainwright from The Guardian interviews Ann.

Oliver Wainwright from The Guardian interviews Ann.

He also speaks to a good many of the rest of us, me and Jimi giving him a potted history of the place. (I’ll link to his article when it’s published.)

And it's a day of serious conversations.

And it’s a day of serious conversations.

People, partners, funders, project managers, architects, builders, friends and influencers. All the people we’d long hoped to pull together to pull this off. As Eleanor has said:

“This is a new kind of organisational structure developed to bring about the long-term social and economic regeneration of our neighbourhood, through the acquisition of community-owned assets. Any profits will be fed back into the community to create new projects or expand existing ones.

Phase 1 of our project is to refurbish 10 houses to provide affordable housing. Working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, they have agreed to transfer these properties to the CLT.

We want the physical act of rebuilding to help boost the local economy and also offer residents and supporters a direct hand in shaping the area’s development. This project will deliver training, jobs and volunteering opportunities for local people.  Working with Assemble, an innovative and award-winning young architectural collective – and in partnership with 2 national organisations, Ambition and Cospa, our 10 homes project will offer a new training scheme offering young people the chance to learn building and construction skills through refurbishing these houses.

In Phase 2, we are planning to develop a social, community arts and retail hub right in the 4 empty corner shops at the centre of our development. This would enable us to bring shops back into use, retain as much of the architectural integrity of the area as possible and re-build a thriving, safe and vibrant multi-racial and multi-cultural area.”

All together in one place.

All together in one place.

Making detailed plans for the future.

Making detailed plans for the future.

A future of friendship and co-operation.

A future of friendship and co-operation.

On this wondrous day.

All beginning on this wondrous day.

Wondrous Day28 Wondrous Day29 Wondrous Day30 Wondrous Day31 Wondrous Day32The day we’d dreamed of for years.

And as the builders finish off the last of the pancakes.

And as the builders finish off the last of the pancakes.

The street quietens down.

The street quietens down.

Ready now, for the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust to go on site on the opposite side of the street. Any day now. The ‘chink of light’ we spoke about at the beginning of all of this is now shining on the 4 Streets.

“So we started to imagine the future.
We’ve imagined before but it’s different now,
The Council have no money, the economics have changed.
And so it’s time for new ideas, a time to work differently.
We want the houses refurbished, the area regenerated, of course we do.
We’ve had the idea of setting up a trust, maybe a community land trust,
A body for us all, the people who live here and want to live here,
People who love Granby.

We’ll widen our contacts, look widely for sources of funding,
Broaden who we speak to, look to others for help and inspiration.
Other trusts, other places.
We’ll look for new people to come and live here.
A multi-cultural, peaceful and creative place.
We’ll look for new people to work with, committed and local developers and partners,
And we’ll look at new design and development ideas
For an even greener Granby.

We will broaden our numbers, coalesce all of our ideas,
Be clear about what we want.
And we will make our plans, our dream, our strategy in solidarity.
We will use this chink of light, this chance of change
For the place and for the people.
We have waited so long.”

We are waiting no more. This was a wondrous day.

And of course the adventure is nowhere near over. So I’ll continue to bring news of what happens. When the CLT goes on site. When all of the 4 Streets partners arrive at a just solution for the houses of existing residents. When the new people begin to move in. When the shops re-open and the streets come fully alive. And of course there’ll be a Christmas Street market.

So that was a bit of a day.

Not over for me yet though. I walk into town to see some new friends, the Liverpool Quakers, on the occasion of their annual John Hamilton Memorial Lecture.

I knew John a little.

I knew John a little.

Here's the outline of his story.

Here’s the outline of his story.

John began his political career in the 1950s as a councillor in Granby.

I knew him during his time as Leader of the City Council in the 1980s. Trying to govern quietly and wisely whilst balancing the competing zealotries of Margaret Thatcher and the Militant Tendency. Then later on we were connected with him during the early days of the Kensington New Deal.

We are all here to honour his memory tonight.

We are all here to honour his memory tonight.

Food courtesy of the Meeting House Café’s joint venture with Blackburne House.

We gather in the main room.

We gather in the main room.

To hear about peace, and the conscientious objectors of the Great War.

To hear about peace, and the conscientious objectors of the Great War.

David Boulton wrote his book 50 years ago, before he became a Humanist Quaker, and while he was working as an investigative journalist for Granada’s ‘World in Action.’ It has just been republished.

It is a privilege to hear him and learn from him.

It is a privilege to hear him and learn from him.

And it's my second meeting of the day with Des McConaghy, here with his wife.

And it’s my second meeting of the day with Des McConaghy, here with his wife.

The day ending quietly. A day full of old friends and new ones. A wondrous day.

All credit to all of these.

All credit to all of these.

You can now read the Story of Granby 4 Streets here.

11 thoughts on “Wondrous Day

  1. Tim Morton

    Wow
    Granby – a name to conjure with – I seem to be spending a lot of time back in the early 1980s
    Great to see positive steps forward with yet another community driven model
    Here’s hoping
    Tim

    Reply
  2. Joe Farrag

    Great comments and photo’s once again, fantastic day and a New Beginning for our community! Well done to everyone.

    Reply
  3. Neville Webb

    Can’t help feeling that the council has stopped itself in its tracks and now is celebrating doing what it should have done in the first place – am I missing something?!

    Reply
  4. 81same

    Hi Ronnie great blog and some fantastic photo’s of the CLT launch day.

    However a few points that require airing: there are still issues with ‘partners’ and ‘friends’ whom you show within the photos by local people. As you know Granby is not the sum total of the ‘four streets’ and the four streets is not the CLT (even though all are invited). Lets not forget there are people who were fucked over, still live and Granby Street but are not lucky enough to own their own properties and therefore seem to have been relegated or excluded within this debate. There is also a process of gentrification by the back door happening across the L8 area and this can be highlighted within the handing over of properties to the ‘co-op’ and the ‘homes for a pound’ which highlight practices which can only be described as racist by a substantial number within the Granby St area (I mean how many black families were offered a ‘home for a pound’).

    So yes I say well done to the tenacity of the residents, but don’t forget that the fight has always been one of racism and attempts at gentrification.

    Reply
  5. Gary Dutton

    Growing Granby was one of the first groups I awarded a grant to when I started my current job a few years back, have followed their story ever since. Great to see them doing so well.

    Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s