Regeneration and Cairns Street
2004, then council leader Mike Storey OBE dubbed Liverpool the "Capital
of Cranes". It is now the regeneration capital of Britain.
‘Regeneration zone’ signs are placed up around most parts
of the city. Anfield, Breckfield, Granby, Bootle, Norris Green and countless
more areas continue to suffer the scorn of the word ‘regeneration’,
which has left most of them looking half derelict and war-torn, like lost
little corners of the city that once stood proud.
The council’s definition of regeneration is simply demolition -
to knock down the strong houses to make weaker smaller higher rent houses
that architecturally hold no significance, only serving to advance the
disintegration of long-standing communities. But there is one particular
community that is fighting back, utilizing their minds and creativity
as a political force: the residents of Cairns Street and the surrounding
few streets have been fighting the supposed ‘regeneration’
of this area for more than eighteen years.
This part of Toxteth - in a desirable position on the out skirts of the
city centre - would be row upon row of substandard new housing right now
if it had not been for the fortitude of its remaining residents. However,
Liverpool council use unprincipled tactics in their bid to move every
single resident from the area, and constantly undermine the efforts of
New plans are under way for the south side of Ducie Street to be demolished
as early as November 2009. Stella Shackel from Cairns Street said, “These
once beautiful large buildings have been left to rot, along with a lot
of taxpayer-owned property, and are no worse than other buildings. The
council have rushed it through without proper consultation of all neighbours
affected…We suspect the council just want to look like they’re
doing something even though they have no immediate plans of what to do
with the land.”
As is beginning to seem commonplace in Liverpool, we will have a large
empty space of land that once housed families and communities - an unsightly
space where gangs and drug abusers may gather.
Hazel Tilley, also from Cairns Street claims “The problems we have
are created by the councils”. Liverpool MPs visit the area before
elections to listen to the residents concerns and most never come back.
In the early part of the decade, an evangelical church purchased number
44 Cairns Street, where the house was renovated and housed tenants for
a number of years, only recently for unknown reasons the church had to
sell to the highest bidder, which happened to be Liverpool city council.
Within a short period of time they sent people over to rip the house of
all its fixtures, purposely making a strong house unsellable, and using
taxpayers' money while they’re at it.
This obviously infuriated the residents who have watched the houses being
boarded up one by one for nearly two decades now, with each renting household
being forced to move due to the council halting all repairs. One family’s
house suffered from severe damp, they had a daughter with asthma and the
council refused to complete any repairs, so under the guise of choice,
they were told they could move into a more expensive new build with central
heating or stay in Cairns Street while the damp worsens along with their
Hazel also says “[The council] have took the heart out of this
area, it’s broken and they’re not trying to fix it, but the
people in this area have never taken things lying down.”
As each house disintegrates on the inside, the residents’ morale
grows stronger and everyone could benefit from a bit of their admirable
determination. This is one fight that the powers that be will not win.
“Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same”
- ‘Little Boxes', Malvina Reynolds
Comment left by louise greyson on 14th August, 2010 at 18:39
well written, really brings home this problem and how it's continuosly ignored. keep up the fight