This is Anfield
How a partnership approach made Anfield ‘a place to live’.
Head of Customer First at Your Housing Group, Dave Litherland shares his views on our Anfield Regeneration work.
If I say the name ‘Anfield’, it usually means just one thing. While I love any opportunity to talk about the beautiful game, when I think of Anfield, I picture a community just a few minutes’ drive from Liverpool City Centre that has been the focus of one of the most ambitious projects in Your Housing Group’s history.
This month marks five years since Your Housing Group joined forces with Liverpool City Council and Liverpool FC to embark upon The Anfield Project, a plan to regenerate a borough which historically had high levels of deprivation, swathes of empty homes and only came to life on match days.
For us, this project was not just about building a few new homes near to a shiny new football stadium then moving on. This was a truly long-term investment which, if done right, would benefit the people of Anfield for generations to come.
The ultimate ambition of the Anfield Partnership has been to create a neighbourhood which offers unique opportunities as a place to live. While high quality homes are central to the success of an ambitious regeneration scheme, in Anfield our joint focus has also been about revamping the high street, making the most of its proximity to the city centre, ensuring the community benefits from the redevelopment of Liverpool FC, and improving parks and green spaces.
Walking round Anfield just recently, I found it hard to believe how much has changed in five short years. Your Housing Group has invested more than £23m into developing 161 new homes for private rent and shared ownership and bringing 27 homes back into use for affordable rent and fit for the needs of Anfield residents today.
Recognising that housing and lifestyles have changed since Anfield’s rows of terraces were built in Victorian times, in many cases we have knocked through two small terraced homes into one large home. This has breathed new life into the properties in the area, with more families moving in. In some instances we have rebuilt derelict homes in the same period style as the surrounding homes. Many local residents now have their own back gardens for the first time in their lives. Nothing is better than hearing a Mum of three who has lived in the area for almost a decade tell me she’s now ‘proud to live here’ and that her new home is ‘so much better…and cheaper to run, too’.
Residents like this have been at the heart of the regeneration of Anfield since Day One. We knew for the investment to work, the plans needed to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people who live there. We opened a local office in one of the empty homes and employed a team of people to engage with customers on everything from early stage masterplans down to the details of the worktops set to be installed in their new homes. This certainly wasn’t always easy. There are some strong characters in Anfield who were never afraid to have their say, but we have worked hard on building strong relationships and a sense of trust over the past five years, which has been essential in making this project a success.