Britain’s former super-middleweight boxing champion, Liverpool’s Paul Smith, has announced plans for a high quality housing-led regeneration project in his home district of Kirkdale.
If approved, the scheme would provide affordable new homes, community facilities, elderly care accommodation, an eco-park and a new boxing academy to be run by Smith and his three brothers, the most successful boxing family in the UK and holders of British, European and world titles.
The proposed scheme would be sited in a derelict railway cutting and neighbouring canalside that run along Melrose Road and Commercial Road through the heart of Kirkdale.
Smith, advised by London-based Lacey Capital Partners, has formed a partnership with Liverpool City Council’s ethical housing delivery company, Liverpool Foundations Homes, to bring about the plans, labelled Kirkdale Canalside.
Paul said: “We’re at an early stage but wanted to share our initial thinking with the people of Kirkdale so that they can help shape our ideas.
“The project would act as a catalyst for wider regeneration and provide much-needed high quality housing at rates affordable to local people. The area has been crying out for new community facilities and these will go beyond boxing in to areas such as fitness, diet, nutrition and wider life skills.”
Almost three thousand homes and businesses in the area surrounding the site are being leafleted this week to invite residents to two community consultation events at the Gordon Institute on Stanley Road later this month.
Cllr Joe Hanson, ward councillor for Kirkdale, addded: “This project is an opportunity for Paul Smith to give back to the people of Kirkdale and represents his love and passion for our community.
“This period of consultation also brings the opportunity for the residents of Kirkdale to shape what they feel our community needs. I am determined to ensure that this consultation reflects the needs and wishes of the residents of Kirkdale and that they decide the future of their community as we move forward.
“This is an exciting opportunity for my constituents and I would urge everyone living in our community to engage in the consultation process to ensure your voice is heard.”
Liverpool City Council is the sole shareholder of Foundations, which has been set up to improve the availability of good quality, affordable homes in the city.
The company is the flagship housing policy for the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who wants to use Foundations to improve the city’s housing stock, revolutionise the Rent to Buy sector and drive up council tax receipts for the council.
Foundations chief executive Mark Kitts says the scheme is one of a number being developed across Liverpool: “Our aim is to deliver high quality new and refurbished homes across Liverpool to increase the choice available to local people at prices they can afford. Whether they want to buy, rent or share ownership with us, quality homes and neighbourhoods are the bedrock of a successful city.
“Our ideas incorporate some great initial thinking about how to bring these neglected and underused sites back in to community use and we see them as having the potential to kick-start regeneration in neighbouring areas such as the flower streets.”
Chris Lacey, the managing director of Lacey Capital Partners said: “The real housing need across the city is for high quality yet affordable living. The aim here is to create a great and healthy place to live where the spacious green environment and very good transport links will serve the community and Liverpool really well. This is an innovative and exciting opportunity serving a genuine need.”
Two public consultation events will be held at the Gordon Institute on Stanley Road and residents can pop along to either:
- Friday, 17 May, 10am-2pm and 4pm – 6.30pm
- Saturday, 18 May, 10am-4pm