Of the people, by the people: The Community Land Trusts

A day containing both of Liverpool’s Community Land Trust’s is always a good day for me. A day of actually seeing the people of a place take a formal and active role in designing and creating the future of their place. This was such a day for me.

First to Granby in Liverpool 8.

First to Granby in Liverpool 8.

And later to Homebaked in Anfield.

And later to Homebaked in Anfield.

First to Granby then, where I call for my friend Eleanor Lee. Eleanor’s on the Board of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust  and today the builders have invited us to have a nose around what they’ve been building opposite to the CLT houses. We’d stood admiring these nearly finished ones a few evenings ago after all the builders had left the street.

Now we're going inside.

Now we’re going inside.

So we head over to the side of Cairns Street being renovated by Liverpool Mutual Homes.

So we head over to the side of Cairns Street being renovated by Liverpool Mutual Homes.

And a transformational job has been done.

And a transformational job has been done.

Remember these are empty homes that were scheduled for clearance long, long ago.

Remember these are empty homes that were scheduled for clearance long, long ago.

We're both impressed.

We’re both impressed.

In the kitchen of one of the houses Eleanor meets a friend from Granby.

This is Keith Simon, working here for HMS, as is his brother Barry.

This is Keith Simon, working here for HMS, as is his brother Barry.

Keith and Barry grew up here in Cairns Street. At no. 19, now a Community Land Trust house.

They talk building standards, housing need and long ago street parties from the 1970s.

They talk building standards, housing need and long ago street parties from the 1970s.

More than good to know that the people of the place are, in all sorts of ways, working together on its revival. Of the people, by the people.

Well done HMS, well done Liverpool Mutual Homes.

Well done HMS, well done Liverpool Mutual Homes.

The whole street is busy today.

The whole street is busy today.

Skips and vans and builders all over the place.

Skips and vans and builders all over the place.

A replacement bay being checked at a Community Land Trust house.

A replacement bay being checked at a Community Land Trust house.

And the plants?

And the plants?

Yes, we’ll need to be moving these on this side now. On the other side not only did the HMS builders help move the plants there to safe places, they’ve also promised to build all the plants new homes, new plant boxes, ready for their return when the works are done. Thank you so much for that.

Also, as you can see from the above photo, United Utilities are here today. Bringing in the water for houses that long had no plumbing.

A great day for Cairns Street.

A great day for Cairns Street.

And no apologies from me.

And no apologies from me.

No apologies for what? Well for showing you endless photographs of these streets and houses being worked on. It took so many people round here so long to get this to happen. With their guerrilla gardening and their street markets and their painting curtains on the tinned up empty houses opposite them and their sheer determination. So to see all this happening now is a miracle. And I never get tired of looking at miracles.

Here’s another one.

Round in Beaconsfield Street, Plus Dane's laborious and meticulous work continues.

Round in Beaconsfield Street, Plus Dane’s laborious and meticulous work continues.

Brick by brick, piece by piece.

Brick by brick, piece by piece.

But before too long this Princes Avenue end of the street will look like the Kingsley Road end down there.

But before too long this Princes Avenue end of the street will look like the Kingsley Road end down there.

Then later on? To Liverpool’s other Community Land Trust, to Homebaked.

In Anfield as the evening arrives.

In Anfield as the evening arrives.

Homebaked as you’ll well know by now is the community bakery that has done so much to hold the spirit of Anfield together during these last few years of doubt and demolition. But you might not have known it’s also a CLT. Not like Granby where we’re renovating existing houses though. Here the row of houses next to Homebaked are going to be demolished by the City Council, so a few weeks ago we all started work on designing what will replace them. The community of people who live and work here, together with a wider community who love the place.

This is our second architectural gathering.

This is our second architectural gathering.

And I’m not going to write very much about it and the process that’s underway. Because as you can see Cally, on the left there, is writing about it all on Homebaked’s own blog. Here’s her post.

Meanwhile, a few photos to give you a flavour of it all. Brick by brick – of the people, by the people, community led design.

Britt from Homebaked gets us going.

Britt from Homebaked gets us going.

The football ground, as ever, looking in over our shoulders.

The football ground, as ever, looking in over our shoulders.

And here's Marianne Heaslip, Architect.

And here’s Marianne Heaslip, Architect.

Marianne’s been on this blog before of course. Here at Homebaked where she’s advising on finding and briefing an architect for the work, but also when she was part of the team of us who worked on the wonderful Places and Buildings by Design events I’ve written about. They were about community led design and so is this.Of the people, by the people - 25 Of the people, by the people - 26 Of the people, by the people - 27 Of the people, by the people - 28Cally will be telling you more, and I’ll be back too. Of course.Of the people, by the people - 29

There is always a warm welcome here.

There is always a warm welcome here.

And of course there are always pies.

And of course there are always pies.

Top marks on the newcomer, the mushroom stroganoff by the way!

So a perfect day draws to its close.

So a perfect day draws to its close.

Thank you both, you CLTs, it’s an honour to be involved.

As well as the post about this event Cally from Homebaked has also written this beautiful post ‘How did I get here?’ about growing up next to the football ground and how she got to Homebaked:

“I never dreamt that, around the age of 12 or 13, things would start to change. The friends I knew started to move away, the general vibe of our street changed, as, one by one, houses started being boarded up. A few houses would still have people in, but they weren’t there for long – not enough time to get to know neighbours or new families, no longer a sense of community spirit. I didn’t realise it then, but it was the beginning of a very long journey which ultimately resulted in our street, and several neighbouring ones, being knocked down.”

So do go and have a read of it, to appreciate more fully what these communities are overcoming.

4 thoughts on “Of the people, by the people: The Community Land Trusts

  1. Paula Greaves

    This is a FABULOUS achievement … the houses look beautiful … congratulations to all involved.
    Here in Southport I am sorry to say that so many of our historic Victorian dwellings have been (and continue to be) razed to the ground so that architecturally-bland characterless flats can be built in their place.

    Reply
  2. Paula Greaves

    I’m sure those terraced homes with their bay windows must be unique to Britain, wouldn’t you say Ronnie? (My ancestors lived in similar properties in Everton, but like so many others elsewhere, they’ve long since gone).

    Reply
  3. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    They do seem to define Britain don’t they, a simple idea that lets in so much light. Though I don’t understand why new houses so rarely seem to replicate them.

    Reply

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