Submitted via e-mail by an anonymous resident of Toxteth, Liverpool
As a resident of L8 (or Toxteth as some prefer to call it) I would like to add my observations. I have enjoyed a happy 28 years in this excellent district and agree it is a treasure. A hidden treasure . It's people, parks, varied shops, cultures, events, inventive traders, and of course it's architecture make it a place I am proud to live in. This part of town is near the city centre, and ringed by parks but accessible to people for whom Hyde Park is never going to be.
I like hundred of other L8 residents expect people from outside the are to make comments , about this unique neighbourhood. After all - it's initial development, later demise, recent re-birth and disputed physical survival are also contributed to by outside forces . So I say it's fine to show a constructive interest in Liverpool 8 either an individual or as member of the local Civic Society.
Many national organisations such as SAVE, Shelter and Rowntree Trust have also made useful observations and suggestions. If anyone wants to see what these and other group have had to say the recent regeneration offer which now strangles the L8 housing market, damages the built environment, divides communities , and has yet to deliver on it's early promises then many of the reports on the area are linked to locally produced www.welshstreets.co.uk. The web-site is also a source of links to many many LCC and CDS produced documents which show repeatedly and emphatically that there have been widespread calls to look at alternatives to demolition for 7 years.
That the area should have attracted wide and prolonged interest is testimony to it's heritage social and cultural capital. It also reflects a determined effort by local residents to achieve fair play in public consultations, in representation from local politicians, in services from housing officers and to stand as equals with those residents who have different views.
I see there has been interest in the planning meeting of 19.4.2011 which may have appeared to the untrained eye to show a group of people insisting on having 'their place' pulled down but I must question anyone's right to agree this must mean pulling someone else's place down. We are informed by senior LCC housing officers that most of the properties in question actually belong to Plus Dane ( ex CDS) .
Pundits might like to speculate if tenants or owners could anticipate the result of a decision made in 2005 when LCC declared the neighbourhood a Neighbourhood Renewal and announced their intention to cease all repairs.
Similarly observers might consider why people have apparently been forced to live in damp or substandard houses despite the obligations of this large and powerful landlord to maintain their properties in return for a fair and affordable rent. Bang in FOE request if you want to know what proportion of L8 is owned by big 'social ' landlords and you'll have a clue as to why people who want to live hear try not to fall out of favour with the RSLs
There is the mystery of how it is that the area in question; The Welsh Streets, managed to go from a mere 6% of unfit houses – below the city average incidentally - to significant proportion of the remaining 116 inhabited houses being in chronic condition, whilst a small fortune went down the drain. I assume like Wayne C has confused Welsh Streets with the Cairns St houses which the Civic Trust and Jonathan B write about in the original AJ article as Cairns St was discussed at a later planning meeting. Doubtless I will be correct by Wayne if he thinks I am wrong.
If the houses are so bad why do Plus Dane and LCC insist the current inhabitants be made to endure hardship there ? As I remember it those who signed up for demolition did so expecting a new home, and a minimum £3.400 compensation not an 7 year itch and prolonged maintenance problem.
Either way our neighbours over the road the Granby four streets residents have long and hard called for alternatives to demolition and a majority too and have been put through an unacceptable lack of progress for over a decade. So it's one rule on one side of Princes Ave and one rule on the other. And then there's the divide'n'rule but thats another story
There are alternatives, there are funds on offer to deliver the alternatives whilst the funds for clearance and rebuilt seem as absent as any design proposal to provide the home sought by a little over a hundred phase 3 Welsh Streets residents held in limbo by HMR. I sympathise with them but sympathy does not cure bronchitis in the same way some leadership and imagination would.
The structural engineers do not agree that the houses are dead and buried and there remains significant interest in re-occupying the homes. Why not the plan to demolish and redevelop had proven so far to be beyond the ability of those who promised that. It would be better if comments about Toxteth (or L8 as some prefer to call it) attended to the complexity of the situation .
LCC received many more L8 signatures at the planning committee of 19.4.11 seeking the pursuit of alternatives than it did in support of demolition but ignored this local opinion to agree to tear the place down anyway. The same thing happened at the Executive Board meeting of Sept 05 its all on the record at the LCC. So please be clear that local opinion was at best divided, and at worst ignored.
I guess I'll withhold my name for fear of being accused of wanting to 'get my name about' although I shouldn't have to apologise for having as keen an interest in my own home as those who think its ok to destroy it.
Comment on: UK riots: tell us your stories
I live in Clapham Junction where rioting on Monday night was severe. I was shocked to see gangs of young people looting and being violent. I also witnessed attempts at arson and stolen vehicles being driven recklessly at high speed. From what I saw there was greed but the greed was driven by desperation. It was like watching someone who hadn't eaten for a long time stuffing themself because they didn't know when the next meal would come. The simple fact is a lot of these young people have had educational opportunities taken away from them. They have no jobs and very little chance of getting a job. Some may even be denied this opportunity for their entire life.
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