A multi-million pound project to refurbish dozens of empty Victorian homes in Toxteth into beautiful rental properties is being unveiled at a heritage open weekend.
Specialist landlord, Placefirst, is re-modelling the 19th century Welsh Streets, to create distinctive family homes that preserve the heritage of the local neighbourhood.
Several renovated properties on High Park Street will be open during the heritage event on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13, from 10.30am until 4pm.
David Smith-Milne, founder and managing director of Placefirst said: “My grandparents lived locally and I have fond childhood memories of the area – this is an important milestone, not only for Welsh Streets, but for me personally.
“As a team, we want to give the local community, and anyone interested in the Victorian heritage of this great city, an opportunity to see how the properties are being transformed into some of the most distinctive family homes available in Liverpool.
“Following years of uncertainty and passionate campaigning about the future of these streets, we are delighted to be in a position where we can invite the pubic to come and see, first hand, how these historic properties are being brought back into use as modern, spacious family homes.”
The properties were originally built by Welsh workers and named after Welsh towns, valleys and villages. The sympathetic refurbishment is preserving the best of yesterday and enhancing them with the best of today.
Community life is a high priority for Placefirst, which is creating landscaped outdoor areas for socialising and playing. Rear property extensions, yards and alleys will be replaced by a mix of private terraces and community avenues to bring to life the outdoor space.
Internally, the homes are being completely remodelled through a ‘back-to-brick’ refurbishment that will offer high levels of energy efficiency and super-fast broadband connectivity. The majority of new homes are being built for private rent as part of Placefirst’s commitment to improving the quality of the family private rental sector.
A strong commitment is being made to offer jobs and work to those local to the area and, wherever possible, local suppliers are providing products and materials. The majority of the site team working on the new homes are based in the Merseyside area.
Brother and sister, Chris and Sarah, have both worked for Placefirst for some time. They live locally, will be heading the team helping new residents move in and will be on hand during the weekend to show visitors around the properties and answer any questions.
The first homes will be ready in September and the first phase will include a mix of two, three and four bedroom homes with on-street parking. Residents moving into properties that aren’t yet renovated will be able to choose kitchen doors and work tops, and will even have the option of including integrated appliances such as fridges and dishwashers.
David said: “Tenants rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to be involved in choices for their homes as this is usually a privilege reserved for new-build home buyers.
“We want to create homes our residents can be proud of and truly consider their own. Through personalisation and a high-quality specification, we hope to create houses that our residents can genuinely call home.”
The Welsh Streets renovation forms part of a wider £30 million masterplan, approved by Liverpool City Cabinet in June, and will include alternative tenures such as affordable rents, shared ownership and market sale.
Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing at Liverpool City Council, said: “Placefirst have done an excellent job bringing some of the homes back into use as part of this project, and together with the local community we have drawn up some really exciting plans to breathe new life into the area and give it a long term, sustainable future.
“We’ve already demonstrated with the regeneration of Anfield and our Homes for a Pound scheme that we are leading the way in finding imaginative ways of retaining properties where it is viable to do so, and this scheme reflects our approach.
“We are working closely with the local community to make sure that the regeneration of the area delivers a mixture of property sizes and tenures to suit a range of families and budgets.”