Twenty five years ago a group of people were told by the City leaders that their homes were to be demolished and they would be scattered across the City to make way for industrial redevelopment. They said NO! The Eldon Street people, their parents and their grandparents before them lived in one of the poorest inner city areas within the United Kingdom. The people suffered from appalling poverty in homes surrounded by abandoned docklands and the worst of industrial dereliction, but the area was their home. It was the basis of their community and their shared history.
Where is it ?
The Eldonian village is situated on Vauxhall Road. It was part of an inner-city regeneration project in Liverpool during the 1980’s and 90’s.
The regeneration phase one
Many of the residents initially refused to move out and the closure of the local Tate & Lyle sugar plant resulted in more than 3,000 jobs being lost. The Eldonians planned to build on the site with the £7.2 million which they had received from the housing corporation but the council refused to give planning permission in 1985 as the land was contaminated and not safe to build on. By 1990 the first 145 houses had been built as well as a 30-place frail elderly scheme at Eldonian House.
The regeneration phase two
Phase two was finished in 1994 with another 150 homes, providing a mix of family housing, bungalows for elderly people and special needs accommodation for those with disabilities. The co-op then became a community-based housing association and the Eldonians began using the pristine new houses to attract further investment and create employment
A planned retail park which would provide shopping and workshop space, an innovation centre and employment training projects. "Our aim is to ensure that we're self-funding and self-financing," says Hart. "We've created hundreds of jobs and we are now one of the area's biggest employers."
Eldonian village hall
Then and now
Success or failure
In 2002, the Eldonians had developed assets worth £25m and attracted more than £100m in private investment. They are now in the process of signing up with a national property developer to expand into sites around the Eldonian Village. The greatest threat to the village is its own success. The waiting list for housing runs to hundreds, with applications from the US and Germany, but nobody wants to leave. Three-bedroom houses are most popular and the last family to get one had waited seven years.