Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Liverpool Legacy

Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture ended last week, and there has been much discussion as to what sort of legacy it will leave. It has certainly made a change to have a positive spotlight on what for me is one of this country’s greatest cities.

With the enormous new “Liverpool One” shopping centre taking shape, a revitalised Pier Head and a new cruise liner dock their can be little doubt that the city centre is looking forward with confidence.

A mile or two away however and regeneration of Liverpool’s housing stock looks less rosy. Anfield contains a greater volume of empty homes than anywhere else in the UK. Liverpool’s housing regeneration was based on trying to attract the housing boom into areas of the city with depressed housing markets. Large volumes of homes were bought up and left vacant in the hope that they would appeal as large development sites to big housing developers. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked, and with the housing boom over there is nothing to attract.

Like many other towns and cities Liverpool has it’s fair share of vacant new flats too, but nowhere has the combination of overoptimistic housing developers, and regenerators left so much damage. The legacy of culture for this city is surely bright, but the housing legacy is in need of urgent attention. This superbly edited video speaks a thousand words.

1 comment:

  1. I am confident that Liverpool's empty homes situation will only worsen. Let's remember, this is a dying city that has been dying for a long time. The last time it's population saw an increase was 1831. According to the State of the English Cities Database 2007, Liverpool was the lowest performer, in terms of working age benefit claimants (it has the most), working age adults with no qualifications, and it's unemployment rate is second only to Birmingham. These are long term trends in the city, and according to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 (before the recession was obvious), there will be a severe tightening of public fund spending in the years up to 2011. More severe than has been seen in the previous *decades*. This in combination with the recession will I believe bring Liverpool even closer to a ghost city.