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L8 bedsit land gets superstar status

Princes Park conservation area extended to Bentley Road

Written by . Published on August 17th 2012.

L8 bedsit land gets superstar status

 It’s used as a rat run between Ullet Road and Lodge Lane, but after 150 years in the shadows Liverpool’s Bentley Road is to be given superstar status. 

The Victorian houses – many of them part of Liverpool 8’s bedsit land – helped inspire classic urban design around the world. 

Now the city council’s cabinet is paving the way for Bentley Road and nearby Greenheys Road to become part of the Princes Park Conservation Area. 

The conservation area was originally designated 1970, but stopped short of the two roads. 

Princes-Park-LiverpoolPrinces Park

But following a request by residents, supported by local councillors, the conservation map will finally be redrawn. 

The Princes Park conservation area was based on the early Victorian planned residential suburb designed by Joseph Paxton in 1842 which, at its core, includes the earliest purpose-built public park in Great Britain. 

According to a report to the cabinet, the park’s founder, Richard Vaughan Yates, and designer Joseph Paxton showed great foresight and introduced a number of highly influential ideas. 

First and foremost was the provision of open space for the benefit of townspeople and local residents within an area that was being rapidly built up. It represented one of the great civic improvements of the early Victorian age. 

Also, there was the concept of a designed landscape as a setting for suburban living: an idea pioneered by John Nash at London’s Regent’s Park. 

With the establishment of Princes Park in 1842, Paxton, famous for designing the Crystal Palace, did something similar for the benefit of a provincial town. It raised the threshold of municipal planning and the calibre of park design to an entirely new level of aspiration. 

Bentley RdBentley RdThe park was privately financed and its development took place between the years 1843 and 1871. It attracted entrepreneurs and investors and also shaped the way in which many ambitious towns and cities incorporated open spaces into their expanding urban areas, not only in Britain but also internationally. 

The great sequence of public parks and municipal cemeteries, which followed in the wake of Princes Park, provided protected open space - serving as a means to cushion the local inhabitants from the sort of overcrowded conditions that had become commonplace in Liverpool by the 1830s. 

The parks, cemeteries, boulevards and ring roads constructed in Liverpool between 1850 and 1914 are an enduring testament to the principles underpinning the foundation of Princes Park. These served to guide the urbanisation of Liverpool's hinterland through the rest of the 19th century. 

Greenheys Road and Bentley Road were laid out during the later phases of the suburb’s development from 1846-1871 in a manner similar to the perimeter roads of the park, essentially the final phase of the grand plan for the park area. 

220Px-Joseph_Paxton_By_Maull_%26#38%3B_Co,_C1860sJoseph PaxtonSays the cabinet report: "these roads provide valuable contextual townscape and are important to the setting of Princes Park particularly in relation to its northern approaches. They have complementary character and history to the rest of the conservation area. They are in a genuine sense ‘overspill’ streets of Princes Park which incorporate gentle curves and buildings of a similar status and character." 

A second conservation area in the city, around West Derby Village will also be extended, despite an objection from the Diocese of Liverpool. The church authorities do not feel it is appropriate to include the 1930s St Mary’s rectory in the extended conservation area which centres mainly in the olde worlde charm of West Derby. 

West Derby’s origins stretch far back into history, being the site of a hunting lodge for Anglo-Saxon King Edward the Confessor, a Norman castle and a Wapentake Court for the large area of the “Hundred of West Derby”.

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