Granby Four Streets is a community land trust (CLT) representing the four streets left in an area that had suffered mass demolitions. Located in Toxteth, one of the most racially-diverse areas in Liverpool, the neighbourhood was seen to be the flashpoint of the 1981 race riots and since then had been in managed decline.
A group of residents from the four streets came together to stop their homes suffering the same fate, and began bringing beauty back to the area with plants, paintings and a monthly market. In November 2011 they formed the CLT to manage the community’s assets in a way that would benefit the community - they wanted to develop and refurbish empty homes, instead of demolishing them.
The local council took on a suggestion from Granby Four Streets to bring in many different partners to share the risk of development, and this attracted funding from a number of different sources. Still on a tight budget, the CLT worked with architecture collective Assemble and developer Steinbeck Studios, to plan and carry out refurbishments for sustainable housing that would reflect the aspirations of the community members.
The result earned Assemble a Turner Prize for their design, and the houses are now being sold for affordable prices tied into the average income of the community, and let by a registered social landlord with the option for shared ownership. “The most successful thing we’ve done is to work with organisations that we were once in conflict with,” says Michael Simon, who was born and bred on Granby Street. “We’re stitching back together the urban fabric - city council, social landlords, and residents - because we’ve built the relationships.”
The aim now is to continue developing the area to mirror the aspirations of the community, and work with the local authority and other providers to tackle problems such health and education.