Talking Liverpool: Welsh Streets and Homebaked

The Welsh Streets01As you will have well gathered by now, I love to talk about Liverpool in all kinds of ways. The parts of the place, the theory and practice of the place, the many joys of my place, my home.

So today I was up and out early for a day of Talking Liverpool.

Hoping these words on the back of the Bluecoat wouldn't define the day.

Hoping these words on the back of the Bluecoat wouldn’t define the day.

Through Liverpool One.

Through Liverpool One.

Getting the day going coffee being drunk.

Getting the day going coffee being drunk.

Streets being aired.

Streets being aired.

Fruit and veg put out.

Fruit and veg put out.

Lord Street waking up.

Lord Street waking up.

Another golden morning in Liverpool.

Another golden morning in Liverpool.

With perfectly co-ordinated shop window cleaning.

With perfectly co-ordinated shop window cleaning.

Turning into Castle Street.

Turning into Castle Street.

This is where I'm going first today.

This is where I’m going first today.

To Liverpool Town Hall.

To Liverpool Town Hall.

To the City Council Cabinet meeting.

To the City Council Cabinet meeting.

To talk Welsh Streets.

To talk Welsh Streets.

One Council Meeting and one Liverpool Echo interview later I'm done. Didn't take long.

One Council Meeting and one Liverpool Echo interview later I’m done. Didn’t take long.

And we will return to the subject of the Welsh Streets later.

For now it's off along Church Street...

For now it’s off along Church Street…

And Bold Street.

And Bold Street.

For a sit and a drink and some work to happen.

For a sit and a drink and some work to happen.

A good deal of my thinking and talking with people kind of work happily happening in places like Bold Street Coffee.

Then it's off past the largest brand new brick wall in the inner city.

Then it’s off past the largest brand new brick wall in the inner city.

On the building I still prefer to call Lewis's.

On the building I still prefer to call Lewis’s.

To catch a number 14 bus.

To catch a number 14 bus.

To North Liverpool.

To North Liverpool.

Getting off where Everton meets Anfield.

Getting off where Everton meets Anfield.

Where, as you'll know, a better neighbourhood is being built.

Where, as you’ll know, a better neighbourhood is being built.

Together with a much much bigger football ground.

Together with a much much bigger football ground.

Passing Frank Green's shop.

Passing Frank Green’s shop.

One of relatively few still left open here on Oakfield Road.

One of relatively few still left open here on Oakfield Road.

Where the new housing has not yet replaced the cleared streets and people.

Where the new housing has not yet replaced the cleared streets and people.

Arriving, as you might have expected me to, at Homebaked.

Arriving, as you might have expected me to, at Homebaked.

Where we are all designing our own new piece of the high street, here on our ideas wall.

Where we are all designing our own new piece of the high street, here on our ideas wall.

I'm here to talk.

I’m here to talk.

In fact to be filmed talking.

It’s a film for both Homebaked and Ethos Paper being made by Andrew Beattie of Ethos and friend Allan Melia. Allan’s filmed me talking before but is nevertheless keen to do some more.

So we spend an hour or so talking Homebaked as a community business, our aims as a community land trust and its importance as a creative place for the communities of the area while a future is made from the years of doubt and clearance still so deeply felt. It’s emotional, as it always ends up being for me. As much as I can talk happily about the future and Homebaked’s clear role in helping to create it through community-led social enterprise and honest trading, I also hear myself saying things like ‘This is where the stories have come for safe keeping’ because I know from my friends here how hard times have been.

Then afterwards the film-makers film the bakery, while I photograph them doing so.

Preparations being made for the LFC home match tomorrow.

Preparations being made for the LFC home match tomorrow.

Ross and Cally making pastry for the pies.

Ross and Cally making pastry for the pies.

Cally is also the writer in residence here who looks after Homebaked's own blog.

Cally is also the writer in residence here who looks after Homebaked’s own blog.

There are already pies in the oven for lunch today.

There are already pies in the oven for lunch today.

Ingredients for tomorrow's.

Ingredients for tomorrow’s.

And here's Allan filming.

And here’s Allan filming.

Talking Liverpool- Welsh Streets and Homebaked - 37 Talking Liverpool- Welsh Streets and Homebaked - 39

Soon after this I complete my circular tour of Liverpool by getting the 27 bus home.

By which time Liam Murphy of the the Liverpool Echo has written up his report of this morning at the Town Hall, including this:

“The cabinet meeting at Liverpool town hall also saw Ronnie Hughes, Community Land Trust organiser, who was among the volunteers behind the Turner Prize-winning refurbishment of homes at Granby 4 Streets offer his help. Mr Hughes: “I just thought there is something from my own experience on Granby which could be of help.”

He also echoed others who had argued against the council’s previous plan for widespread demolition of the houses in cautiously welcoming the latest proposals.Today Mayor Anderson thanked Mr Hughes for his offer and said the council would use any advice he could offer, but insisted the main focus could be on what the community in the Welsh Streets want.

He said: “My intention has always been to work with the people who live there.”

Fair enough and I’ll also be continuing to talk, obviously. So, this being by way of a public record, here’s the core of what I said to the Cabinet this morning:

“My main thought on what I’ve read so far is a worry that all of the homes might eventually go for private rent? Is that so or could we be looking at the kind of range of tenures that seems to be working well for us all so far in the 4 Streets?

Within this could we also be considering the possibility of varied development models within the work Place First would look into? Increasing the long term stability of the area by having some of the eventual development work on parts of the site being carried out in a co-ordinated way by other local organisations and even some individuals who’d then own their properties? Place First being private rental specialists, can we ensure a greater diversity of approach is built into the whole thinking and development process from the start?

After all that’s happened I believe that what you’re considering today is to be cautiously but carefully welcomed. And I think that care is all around whether we can build an openness to both a diversity of tenures and development approaches into the work and thinking that’s about to happen.

I’m happy to support and be involved in how we do this. Very happy, above all else, that the Welsh Streets are now back in the hands of Liverpool people, to talk about and work on in Liverpool.”

So there'll be more talking Welsh Streets on here.

So there’ll be more talking Welsh Streets on here.

As there has been before. Me on here back in October 2013 when I took that photograph:

“We want to sort this out in Liverpool. The Welsh Streets are Liverpool streets and Liverpool City and the people of Liverpool should be sorting out their future. Reconciliation and hope was happening, constructive negotiations were taking place. A decade of debate was beginning to resolve. Let it be, I say. Call off the Public Enquiry. Let the people and the place predominate and come to practical resolutions together. We already know the streets and the houses and their people must go through one more winter of weather and doubt. Let it be the last.

And who am I to speak out so plainly for streets I don’t even live in? Well who am I not to? I may not live in the Welsh Streets but I’m as Liverpool as you can get, and I don’t like to see Liverpool taken out of our hands. I trust the people and I trust the potential mediation and democratic processes of my place, and I want to see them prevail.”

I still agree with that and I meant what I said in the Town Hall this morning, at the beginning of a good day Talking Liverpool.

3 thoughts on “Talking Liverpool: Welsh Streets and Homebaked

  1. harry pepp

    In am unable to walk very far anymore and don/t have the stamina, vision or expertise you have but I love travelling with you around a city I enjoyed exploring my time. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Pitchers

    I worry for the future of the current tenants on the Welsh Streets. Will they be moved back in to their houses? Will they face higher rental rates eventually? What about the owner-occupiers?

    Reply

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