Monday, April 26, 2010

Warren's War Zones

Election campaigning continues apace. Yet amidst the bombast, bluster & bullshit, there are disconcerting sounds of, well, not contrition or remorse exactly, more like an embarrassed clearing of the throat, a muffled sigh, a sotto voce aside.
Home truths are beginning to be acknowledged by those whose state of denial has been so deep as to be subterranean. Wayne has long pointed out how, inter alia, the disfigurement of the city's waterfront blocks the view of the Three Graces. The response until now has varied from an embarrassed silence to an exercise in juvenile name-calling. However, the pretence is starting to slip & Wayne expertly dissected its threadbare nature earlier today ( ).
Another area where the Fib Dem council is inching dangerously close to a mea culpa concerns housing. Warren Bradley blurts out the obvious to David Bartlett in this morning's Oldham Echo ( ).
Bartlett is moved to observe that Bradley's comments are "frank". Well, yes & no. It certainly puts the Fib Dems' Bread & Circus approach to the city in a stark context hitherto ignored by Oldham Hall Street. However, it also seeks to deflect at least some of the blame onto Whitehall & the quangocracy: "The council, national government and (regeneration agency) English Partnerships probably bit off more than we could chew.
"We announced six renewal areas, and in hindsight we should have done it one by one. Completing one area and then moving onto the next."
Bradley's tactic is totally transparent, admit mistakes, but imply that Labour & English Partnerships are at least equally culpable. This is election time, don't forget.
The man who is to local history what Jeremy Clarkson is to cycling goes on to deliver some choice comments which act as incriminating evidence in the case against the Fib Dems' reign of misrule in the city:
"You can't rip the heart out of the community and promise them something in 15 years time.
"I just don't think it is correct, but we are where we are. We have now got the job of rebuilding communities and giving them reassurance.........
"We should have landscaped areas so that people didn't feel they were living in a war zone".
That's some self-confessed record of ruin to play at the voters, isn't it? As well as the civic vandalism of what's still mystifyingly called a World Heritage Site & inflicting Grovesnor-pool in the process, Bradley & his cohorts have neglected whole neighbourhoods not fortunate enough to live in the city centre or in Fib Dem wards. The war zones have been left to fester.


David Swift said...

It's been clear for a long time that Liverpool's outskirts have been badly let down. Bring back some common sense, ask the people who actually LIVE in the deprived areas what they want, then provide them with the money and expertise to improve their own places. It isn't so difficult. Getting the NWDA etc to spend millions in the centre was never going to somehow filter out to create better suburbs. Thank God this blog and others like the LPT will actually say what our so-called "local" papers won't.

Liverpool Preservation Trust said...

Letters to the editor April 28
Apr 28 2010 Liverpool Daily Post
Add a commentRecommend (1) Council’s housing mea culpa too late

BACK in the seventies, politicians sussed there are few votes in mass housing clearance because of the social disruption it imposes, at huge expense, with universally disappointing results.Š

Unfortunately, in the last decade, Liverpool's ruling Lib-Dems and Labour opposition both chose to skip these lessons and appear to operate as a “demolition coalition”, offering little scrutiny to John Prescott's damaging “housing market renewal” proposals.

Confronted with the “New Heartlands Pathfinder”, the city accepted the regeneration cash, signed off the land-deals, supported eviction of tenants and home-owners, and looked away as established communities crumbled.Š

Now, for every gleaming new building in Liverpool's resurgent city centre, there is street-upon-street of fine Victorian terraces standing empty in the twilight streets beyond.Š

Famous districts like Anfield, Toxteth and Edge Hill have been laid waste.

The Council leadership's 11th-hour “mea culpa” may mean sanity finally breaks out just as the cash runs dry.

Residents stuck in the half- emptied Welsh Streets and elsewhere may ask Joe Anderson if Labour will do things any differently. They will be desperate to know if Cllr Bradley's admission means the CPO threat is finally lifted or not.Š

If so, there is a last chance of refurbishment and “homesteading” (letting local people and builders take on empty properties themselves).

The one encouraging fact is that most of the streets scheduled for clearance are still standing. It is to our shame that many of their former residents may well not be.

Jonathan Brown, L6

I think you may have inspired this with your mea culpa remarks well done