Mary Huxham spent almost 70 years living on Powis Street in Liverpool’s L8 neighbourhood, before moving to a new property nearby to make way for its demolition and regeneration. She’s supported the local Housing Market Renewal partnership, New Heartlands, from the start, and argues that much of the housing in the area has long been beyond repair.
Nina Edge lives a few streets away from Huxham’s former home but her views are very different. Her Victorian villa – along with all the properties on her side of Kelvin Grove – has also been earmarked for demolition under the Welsh Streets scheme, despite being highly desirable and in good condition. She is fighting to save her street and is convinced that modern techniques could be used to bring most of the properties down for clearance under the scheme back up to a decent standard.
** I have consolidated all my regeneration work – including four years worth of written pieces and more recent multimedia pieces – on a dedicated website, STREET FIGHTERS. Please check it out **
Interesting murmurs in Liverpool, where the new Labour council administration has vowed to launch an “urgent review” of the Housing Market Renewal (HMR) scheme which has seen so many communities decimated and decent homes demolished over the past seven years, amid claims that people no longer aspire to live in terraced housing.
This thinking will be of cold comfort to the many residents who have already gone through years of stress as they watch their areas decline, topped off by being forced out by Compulsory Purchase Order.
I’m prepared to accept that there are many people who do okay out of this process but it’s not really their voices that I’ve been trying to capture here.
And any pastiche of Housing Market Renewal campaigners would be incomplete without Elizabeth Pascoe, who – along with a group of neighbours – fought unsuccessfully through two public inquiries and numerous high court hearings to prevent her home from being bulldozed as part of a road-widening scheme.
Elizabeth was forced to leave her home off Edge Lane, Liverpool, in March this year and her house may well have been cleared by now. New housing in its place will be funded by HMR.
Or will it?
None of the nine HMR Pathfinder schemes running across the North of England has any funding agreed beyond the current 2010-11 financial year. The Tories haven’t said a huge amount about what they plan to do but it’s possible that a change in government – not to mention the UK’s huge public sector deficit – could herald a change in direction for the programme.
Over to Elizabeth. [** apologies in advance for the extremely ropey audio here. This was recorded before I honed my skills with some training with duckrabbit]