Anfield vision takes shape

Gurnall Street

The ambitious housing and regeneration plans for Anfield are moving forward.

Work is gathering pace on the £36 million ‘Anfield Village’ and Rockfield housing schemes. The work is set to breathe new life into housing in the area, with a total of 562 properties previously earmarked for demolition – 156 of which are vacant – to be retained and refurbished.

One major success story is the pilot ‘two-in-one’ scheme, which sees Your Housing Group converting two small, early 20th century terraces into one modern family home.

Your Housing Group has constructed two such properties – in Gurnall Street and Saker Street – creating spacious, modern, three bed family homes with open plan living space, upstairs bathroom, and garden with seating area. They are being held up as a shining example of how to bring empty homes back into use.

Two local families have already moved into the newly converted homes, with one relocating from a property which is due to be demolished and another moving from a house which is set to be converted into a further two-into-one property.

Steve Fossard has moved, with his partner Anne, into the new two-in-one property on Gurnall St. He has moved from his old property on Blessington Road – where he had lived for 10 years – which is earmarked for demolition.

Steve said: “Our new home is fabulous, out-of-this-world. And it’s twice as big as our old house, so we’re absolutely delighted.

“The opportunity to move here came out-of-the-blue, but the first time we saw the property, we loved it. It’s fantastic to be in our new house, and we’re looking forward to it providing a happy home for us for years to come.”

Under the housing renewal plans, a further 299 properties, 186 of which are vacant, will be demolished to pave the way to a better mix of homes and drive forward the wider regeneration of the area.

The city council is now moving ahead with negotiations over the acquisitions of 153 privately-owned properties and 80 Registered Provider-owned properties, and working to agree prices and to re-house residents where necessary.

Liverpool City council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “I’m delighted that such fantastic progress is being made in Anfield. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s great news that we are now moving from the drawing board to reality. Local people are finally beginning to see the results, in bricks and mortar, of plans that have been talked about for too long.

“We want to create homes that people want to live in, within a neighbourhood that we can all be proud of. To do that it’s vital that we communicate effectively with local residents and we are working hard to engage them, keep them updated and place them at the heart of everything we are doing.

“We are also working closely with our partners to find innovative ways of delivering these plans. The fantastic new properties on Gunall Street and Saker Street – which are already providing wonderful homes for local families, in time for Christmas – are a great example of how, by thinking creatively, we can revitalise homes throughout the area.”

Liverpool City Council owns 92 vacant properties in the Anfield Village/Rockfield area, of which 55 are proposed for clearance. A range of options are being considered for the remaining 37 properties, including disposal to Your Housing Group to extend its two-into-one programme; ‘homesteading’ – the refurbishment of properties by prospective owner-occupiers; disposal of properties to local landlords; and potential refurbishment partnerships with private investors.

Further work on-going to complement the housing renewal in the area include the upgrading of property frontages, upgrading paving and roads, environmental improvements to create more open and greener routes, and the creation of space for gardens through demolition.

And the block of properties bounded by Lothair, Anfield, Alroy and Rockfield Roads has been identified for a change of use for commercial purposes, helping to boost employment opportunities in the area. The Council has commenced negotiations to acquire the private properties within this block.

Brian Cronin, Chief Executive of Your Housing Group, said: “We’re extremely excited about the future for Anfield Village and Rockfield. 2013 will be an exciting year as we see plans come to light and the landscape start to change for the better.”

The Anfield Village and Rockfield schemes are transforming housing in the area bounded by Anfield Road, Walton Breck Road, Sleepers Hill and Gilman Street.

The £36 million scheme is being financed by the city council; Registered Providers owning properties in the area – predominantly Your Housing Group; and £10 million from the Government’s Empty Homes Fund.

It forms part of a new a new blueprint for the wider regeneration of Anfield. The city council, Liverpool FC, Your Housing Group and other partners are working together to deliver the Anfield Regeneration Plan, which will incorporate the extensive housing renewal programme, expanded Anfield stadium, investment in Stanley Park and Improvements to the gateways of Walton Breck and Oakfield Roads.

A development board is being set up to oversee the Anfield Regeneration Plan, including Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, Chair of Your Housing Group, Kathy Cowell and Liverpool FC chairman Tom Werner, as well as local residents’ representatives. Further announcements on the wider regeneration programme will be made in the near future.

Image: Steve Fossard welcomes (l-r) Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Ann O’Byrne; Anfield ward councillor Adele Dowling; and Partnership Director at Your Housing Group, Dave Litherland, to his new home on Gurnall Street.