Plans to develop a new high quality housing-led regeneration project in Kirkdale have been strongly backed by local residents, according to the results of a public consultation.
The proposed scheme, called Kirkdale Canalside, is being led by a partnership between Liverpool Foundation Homes, Liverpool City Council’s ethical housing company, and Britain’s former super-middleweight boxing champion, Liverpool’s Paul Smith.
Smith, advised by London-based Lacey Capital Partners, has partnered with Liverpool City Council’s ethical housing company, Foundations, to bring forward the plans to transform this part of north Liverpool and bring about much needed improvement to the environment and the opportunity for employment in construction and the scheme once complete.
If approved, the scheme would provide affordable new homes, refurbished homes and neighbourhoods, community facilities, elderly care accommodation, improved and accessible green space, 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.
Some 92 per cent of local people who took part in the public consultation supported the proposals overall, with more than seven out of 10 people saying they ‘strongly’ supported the ideas.
In total 351 questionnaires were completed over the course of the three week consultation, which took place from 8th May to 6th June.
Support for the individual aspects of the proposals was also extremely high, with local respondents backing the plans for new housing, including specialist elderly accommodation, new neighbourhood facilities and a new high quality park in the area by receiving more than 90% of support from local respondents.
The proposed scheme area includes the inaccessible and unused railway cutting and neighbouring canal side that run along Melrose Road and Commercial Road through the heart of Kirkdale. The scheme will also look to focus on the ‘flower’ streets and Orwell Road areas.
Almost three thousand homes and businesses in the area surrounding the site were leafleted to invite local residents to two community consultation events at the Gordon Institute on Stanley Road on 17th and 18th May.
For those who were unable to attend, a survey was available for completion online.
With a strong local community mandate in place, Kirkdale Canalside remains on track to conduct a second public consultation on the facilities and designs proposed for the project by the end of the year, which will follow a detailed piece of feasibility work to be undertaken by the team over the next few weeks and months.
Paul Smith said: “We’re very happy with the results of the first stage of the consultation, which have reaffirmed to us that our vision for Kirkdale Canalside is in line with what people in Kirkdale want to see in their community.
“Their feedback will be listened to and reflected in our proposals as we continue to develop our ideas for the potential of this project.”
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, set up by the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, wants to see Foundations 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 said: “Housing has the ability to transform lives and communities and we want our plans for Kirkdale Canalside to inject a new lease of life into the area and bring spaces which have historically been neglected and underused back into public use.
“Our aim is to deliver sustainable, high quality new and refurbished homes that will increase the choice of housing stock available to local people at affordable prices. We were very pleased to see over 350 responses and such strong local support for our plans in the first stage of the consultation and we’ll be working hard to bring these ideas to life during the next stage and show local residents how these homes will look.”
As part of Liverpool City Council’s commitment to eliminate the impact of climate change by 2030, regeneration initiatives such as Kirkdale Canalside will have a significant role to play in terms of the approach to design, and methods of construction which will ensure that the built environment responds positively to provide sustainable homes and leisure facilities for the future.
To be kept up to date with activity on the project, please visit the campaign website https://www.kirkdalecanalside.com/.