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Rebirth of the Welsh Streets
This weekend Placefirst will open their sales office and start finding occupants for the first batch of refurbished Welsh Streets houses in High Park Street and Veolas Street. After standing empty for 13 years while a dispute about area improvements was resolved, the two storey Victorian terraces will enter a new era, as homes fit for the 21st century. This is viewed by many local people, and visitors to the area, as an inspiring conclusion to a long story. Something that for a long time seemed impossible has happened here. The patience and imagination of Liverpool City Council, their partner organisations Plus Dane and Placefirst, and of course local residents, has finally paid off. The Welsh Streets have been reborn, or at least very good progress made towards that aim. Once silent and sorrowful streets will again be filled with life and laughter, as for the first time since 2004 people move into, rather than out of, the Welsh Streets.
The houses have super efficient insulation, private terraces and communal gardens, and will at this stage all be for private rental. It is anticipated that some of the old community will want to return to the area, joining a new population who arrive from elsewhere. We feel that anyone visiting the cleverly remodeled houses at the launch this weekend, will understand why a committed and creative campaign was run by local residents, to rescue the terraces from demolition.
The Welsh Streets Homes Group encouraged the use of photography, art, theatre, film and poetry to encourage a rethink of plans to bulldoze existing houses, along side a conventional press campaign. We lobbied Local and National Government, produced Select Committee evidence and worked with worked with other anti-demolition campaigners, Empty Homes, Eco Build and Heritage organisations. Most importantly we worked with local architects and engineers to learn how the houses could be reworked for future generations to enjoy. It is fantastic to see a sympathetic approach taken by the developers brought in by Liverpool City Council – Placefirst, in their first phase of refurbishment. Our quest to see alternatives to demolition has been realised and a high quality scheme is now being delivered.
Welsh Streets Home Group spokesperson Nina Edge said
‘Placefirst have done an exceptional job of redesigning these simple terraces to deliver interesting, well lit, easy to heat, economical to run living spaces. The new neighbourhood will be connected by planted areas to the front and rear of the properties, and in these conditions community will grow, and people will thrive. It is as if finally there is a living example of what we as a campaign group always felt was possible with the right investment.’
There will be a small amount of demolition and new build on site, and it is hoped that local residents who have sought new homes here will finally have their hopes fulfilled too.
A huge number of people who have contributed to the success of this grassroots campaign to see more refurbishment for the Welsh Streets. Photographers, film makers, architects, writers, journalists, advisors, archivists, pop fans, planning experts, engineers, friends and families.
Thank you so much – without you there is no doubt that the Welsh Streets would no longer exist.