Cairns Street in Toxteth, which Assemble have helped to transform after decades of ‘managed decline’. Photo Credit: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo
After fears of demolition, residents of Granby Four Streets in Toxteth came together to regenerate their area, forming a Community Land Trust and collaborating with Steinbeck Studios and the London-based artists’ Assemble to create a sustainable development for their area.
The project has been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, and could win the big prize of £25k through it’s joining of art and architecture.
Erika Rushton, Chair of Granby Four Streets CLT said, “That was such a surprise. Everyone’s joining in with the success now but it has been a long, hard struggle to get here.”
With more than 100 people on the waiting list for Housing Association homes in the area, Granby Street also holds it’s own market every month, which Erika believes has helped keep the small community together.
Michael, another CLT member grew up on a nearby road where the whole street was undergoing building works, and believes the project grew from the works.
“The whole area was left to rack and ruin for years. There was a desire just demolish everything, but the women and families left behind took the bull by the horns and started planting things, cleaning the streets themselves and the whole project has grown out of that.
“It hadn’t been an overnight success. Years of hard work has into this. There’s been disillusionment along the way, but people invested in this community and wanted to stay here.”
Some residents of the area have waited over 25 years for the area to receive a well-needed upgrade, and older residents are looking forward to the changes but are disappointed they came so late.
“The whole project has had a huge positive effect not just on the homes in the streets but, in the wider area as well.” Said Michael.
“Around 1,000 families used to live along these streets. Now this has returned to somewhere people want to come back to and a place people around Liverpool want to come and visit again.
“People had to fight for it and I must admit there were times when we wondered if anything would change, but here we are and it’s fantastic. This is just the beginning.”
Words: Marisa Lee