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Angry Granby residents accuse city of 'two fingers' treatment

Laura Brown reports as bulldozers jostle with Buddhas in Liverpool 8

Written by . Published on July 12th 2011.

Angry Granby residents accuse city of 'two fingers' treatment

RESIDENTS in Liverpool 8 have accused the council of giving them “two fingers” as they stand in the way of developers planning to demolish houses on the edge of the Granby 4 Streets.

New build wouldn’t be in keeping with
the area, they argued, and it’s better
to refurbish rather than demolish

A group of around ten people hold a vigil outside the houses on Kingsley Road at the end of Cairns Street. They stand in front of signs covering the site owned by Lovell Developments with their own, handmade alternatives saying no to demolition and suggesting, rather politely to the developers, that if they want to knock something down perhaps they should go to their own streets.

Lovell’s successfully secured planning permission to demolish six houses and build three, with space for off road parking, from Liverpool’s planning committee at the end of June. The empty houses to be flattened are on Kingsley Road, Beaconsfield Street and Cairns Street, the latter two included in a tender published by Liverpool City Council last month as they look for a partner to refurbish the empty properties rather than demolish them.

When Lovell’s bid first went up to the committee in early June, objections from residents and councillors meant a site visit. To no avail for the objectors. A second planning meeting at the end of the month saw the committee split over the plans for demolition, leaving the chairman, Councillor John Macintosh, with the casting vote. He sided with the developers.

The contractors arrived first thing on Monday morning . Angry and feeling the process has been too quick, the residents made banners and prevented them from accessing the site to demolish the houses.

One of them, Ed Gommon said: “It’s confusing, it’s not as though the residents here aren’t well-informed about council meetings and planned decisions but this seems to have happened really quickly and it’s taken everyone by surprise”.

“The residents are determined to save the houses but we can’t be here 24 hours a day. As long as we get someone to pay attention it’ll be worth it”.

Ed thinks the council really is giving them “two fingers” with the decision to demolish the houses, weeks after a tender was published by the council looking for a developer to refurbish the empty houses littering the Granby 4 Streets. They never called it a victory but are surprised that on one hand, the council can agree to focus on refurbishment, while on the other agree to demolition of some properties.

Green Party councillors registered objections with the planning committee for the demolition of the six empty houses. New build wouldn’t be in keeping with the area, they argued, and it’s better to refurbish rather than demolish. Deputy leader, John Coyne, wants the leader of the council, Joe Anderson, to step in.

“He’s been hands on with housing and I can see why the residents feel frustrated. Lovell’s have been a partner developer in renewal areas so I would call for the leader to have a word with them and to extend the area for refurbishment of the Granby 4 Streets to include these six properties”.

A city council spokesman said: “This vital scheme is the first phase of the regeneration of the four streets and over £3 million has been secured to deliver it, provided by the city council, the Homes and Communities Agency, Lovell and Plus Dane. It will see the refurbishment of 28 properties plus the demolition of a small number of homes that have lain derelict for 20 years and are beyond economic repair. We try wherever possible to bring homes back into use - and in this case the overwhelming majority are - but unfortunately there are a small number of properties which developers do not believe are viable.

“The homes which are to be demolished will be replaced with three modern homes fit for the 21st century, as part of our aims to drive up the quality of housing in the area and improve life for local residents.”

(Click here to add text)
Lovell says they have been “working with Liverpool City Council to improve the area for the local community by creating an attractive living environment for current residents. A number of ongoing public consultations have been held by Lovell over several years to ensure residents are kept fully up to date on the progression of the development at Granby.” 

While the residents were standing in front of the properties preventing the demolition, Lovell’s press office was sending out a release about another bit of work they’ve done in Toxteth, this time helping out building a tranquil garden for the Duldzin Kadampa Buddhist Centre. Isn't that what they call Yin and Yang?

*Follow Laura Brown on twitter at @finny23  

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 15th 2011.

Good on them.

AnonymousJuly 16th 2011.

Defo, waste of perfectly good housing that could be brought back into use. It really saddens me to see the row upon row of boarded up terraces.... In london victorian housing stock is cherished and preserved whereas too many northern councils are too ready to demolish and replace with souless so called modern housing. I hope these liverpool residents are taken notice of and listened to.

Tricky WooJuly 18th 2011.

They won't be. The council has made up its mind to drop these perfectly fine houses. What will probably happen is the contractors will leave them open to the element for however long it takes for them to be rendered irrepairable.

Housing of this quality, this proximity to the centre of the city, two huge and beautiful Victorian parks less than half a mile away, ready made communities, cultural diversity...can you imagine how this would be cherished in London?

This is without even going into the tens of thousands of people in this city on accommodation waiting lists, living in B&B accommodation subsidised by the state.

But no. Those who run Liverpool once again demonstrate how they have no imagination. The people fighting here aren't professional lobbyists. Let's help them, because it helps all of us

AnonymousNovember 20th 2011.

It'll never ceases to amaze me,whenever I come to Liverpool, of the number of streets that are completely boarded up. It is outrageous that all of these houses are being demolished for poor quality private developments.
Has the council not learned the lessons of the 60's with regards to new developments and the effect it had on the people?.
The beautiful houses that used to line Edge Lane have now gone as well.
Liverpool Council really do know how to destroy their heritage and do not help the image that outsiders have of Liverpool. By allowing these streets (all over the city) to decay only serves to strengthen the image that Liverpool is one big slum

Absinthe & TurksNovember 20th 2011.

Hear hear! How often do you see demolished terraces adjacent to tinned-up ones awaiting demolition and nearby hastily-built speculative housing that is empty because no-one from the area can afford to buy or rent them, and those who could would rather live in houses with decent-sized rooms?

These are just brand-new slums that are being built, their only function to make a fat short-term profit for the developer.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2011.

Well said, both of you. These are excellent houses and we have a highly unimaginitive leadership

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