Home as a Human Right: Ten Thoughts

On believing in everyone having a secure home as a human right. 

This is roughly the text of my talk to the Liverpool Walton Constituency Labour Party on the evening of 22nd May 2018.

From a lifetime working in and around housing and communities and at the request of the Walton Constituency Labour Party here in Liverpool, these are my ‘Top 10’ thoughts, a mixture of policies and practicalities, on how we might go about fixing the wide ranging housing crisis we are now in.

1 Establish having a secure home as a basic human right
2 Reinvent Council Housing
3 Be secure and safe from the cradle to the grave Continue reading “Home as a Human Right: Ten Thoughts”

Growing up in North Liverpool

In the early days of this blog we had a look round Liverpool in 1953, the place I was about to get born into. In this follow up to that one we’re going to come in a bit closer. Having spent much of my life with no early photographs of my early days, I’ve recently gathered up a few, courtesy of my Dad. And they’ve got a story to tell.

But before I arrive, of course, my parents have to meet.

My Dad, Joe Hughes, with his sister Terry.
My Dad, Joe Hughes, with his sister Terry.

In this lovely picture Joe is eight and Terry four. Meaning it’s 1936. They are living in North Liverpool down by the Dock Road.

“Even at that age, in those days, we were allowed to roam wherever we liked and I was trusted to look after Terry’ Joe says now. ‘We’d go to church on our own and then go off wandering around the docks and streets and even into town. I remember me and Terry being in town together even after it had gone dark. We had a much bigger Liverpool to play in than children seem to be allowed now. It was great.”

When the war comes three years later Joe is still too young to join the forces. Continue reading “Growing up in North Liverpool”

Granby 4 Streets – Open to the Future

This was another of our many big days now. First 5 Community Land Trust Houses  finished and open.DSC07461

And here are some of us who’ve helped this to happen: Joe Halligan, architect from Assemble, Tracey Gore of Steve Biko Housing, Lorna Mackie of the Nationwide Foundation, Eleanor Lee of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust, Councillor Ann O’Byrne – Deputy Mayor of Liverpool – and me, also of the CLT.

To come and see us in Granby.
In Granby 4 Streets

At our Open Day on Monday 21st September.Open day

Continue reading “Granby 4 Streets – Open to the Future”

Our heritage? The Friday Walk

Isn’t ‘Heritage’ a peculiar word and concept? How come some things are ‘Heritage’ and others merely ‘ordinary.’ And who decides anyway? Being ‘National Heritage Weekend’ when you can get into approved places you might not always be able to, I decided to walk round the neighbourhood here and have a think.

Starting at the heart of things.
Starting at the heart of things.

Granby 4 Streets of course. Where I spent most of yesterday and much of the last week. This week we’ve started handing out the keys to the first Community Land Trust houses to come off site. This week they’ve started turning into homes. Heritage or just places where people live?

Off out walking on Friday morning.
Off out walking on Friday morning.
Forever fixing the roads that are too much travelled on?
Forever fixing the roads that are too much travelled on. Heritage or utilities?
Past the Unitarian Church. Heritge and open this weekend.
Past the Unitarian Church, Ullet Road. Official Heritge, William Roscoe and all, and open this weekend.

Continue reading “Our heritage? The Friday Walk”

The Street Market, September 2015

Granby 4 Streets Market, 5th September 2015.
Granby 4 Streets Market, 5th September 2015.

Once again I did more talking than photography at Granby 4 Streets Market. No apologies for that. Such a joy to have so many friends in one street on a sunny late summer Saturday for the last Street Market of the summer season.

Late in the afternoon now, I’m only just in, so here are the best of the photos I took, with very few words of explanation needed. It was great and here’s why.September 15 Street Market - 1September 15 Street Market - 3 September 15 Street Market - 4 September 15 Street Market - 5 Continue reading “The Street Market, September 2015”

What’s Your Granby Story?

The last Granby 4 Streets Market of this summer season this Saturday, 5th September. And a very special one too.

We are telling the stories of the place now. Listen.

"His good name from 79 Granby Street and his legacy still lives on."
“His good name from 79 Granby Street and his legacy still lives on.”

This is Zeena Mekki telling a story of this week, this century and the last one. The story of a seafarer. The story of a migrant. The story of a refugee. A story of welcome. Of decades and of love. The story of coming home, of being human. The story of her Dad and Granby. Listen.

One story in a book of stories.
One story in a book of stories.

Written and told by the people of Granby. Continue reading “What’s Your Granby Story?”

Further Adventures in Aigburth

Cooper's Coffee Shop, Aigburth Road.
Cooper’s Coffee Shop, Aigburth Road.

A (splendid) late breakfast with a friend here, ended with me setting off on another of my random walks down the far south end of Liverpool. Previous Aigburth walks have featured the suspected Magdalene Laundry we didn’t want and the planned Aigburth Docks we never got. Let’s set off up a road I don’t think I’ve ever walked along, certainly not with a camera, and see what we find.

Barkhill Road.
Barkhill Road.

A long narrow road where, as you can see, they’re touchy about parking. It’s gently suburban now, but as you can see from the age of the sandstone walls, older and maybe grander houses have stood here once.

There are still echoes of age along the road. Pieces of near rural.
There are still echoes of age along the road. Pieces of near rural.
And lodges of the grander houses that once stood here.
And lodges of the grander houses that once stood here.

Names like Kilgraston, May Bank, Elmhurst and Delfield we’ll see soon on an old map. Continue reading “Further Adventures in Aigburth”

The Great Street?

Cairns Street in Granby selected for possible ‘Great Street’ award.Great Street - 1

Unless you’ve been living under a stone or, even worse, not reading my blog posts, you’ll know that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets architects have been nominated for the Turner Prize for their work with us. What might have escaped your notice is that we’ve also been nominated for something else. The Academy of Urbanism’s ‘Great Street’ award.

This award covers the UK and Ireland and award nominations are made by members of the Academy, not by representatives of the streets themselves. And awards given cover places, neighbourhoods and towns as well as the one for individual streets.

So we didn’t put in for it, but are of course delighted to have been picked. The two other streets up for it are Deptford High Street in London and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork. And today the Academy of Urbanism judges arrived in Cairns Street to take a look around and meet some of the people we’ve all been working with in the 4 Streets these last few years.

And here they are.
And here they are.
Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.
Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.

Erika talked about the ways local people have been literally ‘repossessing’ these 4 streets over the last few years, amplifying some of the points we’d made in the brochure (above) that we’d prepared for the day. Continue reading “The Great Street?”