Liverpool’s Newsham Park needs to be conserved

Newsham Park in Liverpool is a Listed Historic Park; yet it has on its perimeter distressingly neglected vintage houses owned, it is said, by the City Council and local Housing Associations. Some concerned locals want the City of Liverpool to take action against itself on this matter. This situation, as some residents understand it, hardly suggests positive re-inforcement of active citizenship in one of the most deprived inner-city localities of the UK.
The very first place we ever lived in Liverpool was, literally, a garret in Fairfield Crescent, off Newsham Park. Still a student, I thought this quite exotic, a place of our own even though the downside was three very steep flights of stairs.

Since my time there many years ago Newsham Park has suffered considerable neglect. The local bank has disappeared, many more people seem to be unemployed, and despite some new retail outlets and the efforts of Kensington New Deal there is widespread visible decay in some parts of the area.

Nonetheless the area is blessed with numbers of residents who are fighting energetically for their patch. Newsham Park is in its design an elegant green space surrounded by large Vistorian houses and wide carriage ways. It was, and still has the potential to be, an urban gem for those who live in the north of the city.

It is shocking therefore to hear that some of the most delapidated housing around Newsham Park is actually owned by the City Council and local Housing Associations. And this, in a Listed Historic Park and within a Conservation Area.

The news is apparently that Newsham Park residents have decided to ask the City to take enforcement action against the owners – sometimes one gathers themselves – of the most neglected properties. Whether this comes about, and what the official response might be, we shall see.

But it does leave us to wonder exactly how one of the most deprived localities of the UK can bring about much needed change for the better, if those who live in and care about it it apparently have to ask their own city to remedy disgraceful neglect on their very doorsteps.

Should it transpire that the City Council, as an example and encouragement to concerned local people, can’t find ways to look after its own property, what hope is there for the rest?

Posted on October 23, 2005, in Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Liverpool And Merseyside, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Sustainability As If People Mattered. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. We lived at 19 clifton road,.went to school at lister drive,swam at lister drive baths.used the carnegie library at the corner of green lane.fished in the park lake,hired the rowing boats.walked through the park every day to school,moved to sheil road sec mod.left there in 1969,went to work for william mcindoe at speke home farm next to the hall,when it still was a farm.i left there in 1972,moving to flintshire north wales.ive been back to liverpool once,i am now 56 years old. dave kilbride 05/12/2012.

  2. Hello,Im Leesa from Bolton.I think these properties are absolutely beautiful,and Ive been interested in buying one of these fantastic properties the last few years.The thing that hits me as I drive down these roads are how on earth your council can stand back and watch these houses deteriorate.I tried to buy 11,strathmore road 12 months ago,and as the lease was running out I tried to get info from the council about it.I had a very icy response from a woman in the leasehold dept who said I would have to consult a solicitor if I wanted to know how to get the lease renewed and the cost.Why couldnt she just let me know what i needed to do.I wanted to restore the house back to its original beauty.Consequently the house is now burnt to the ground almost.What a shame and what a waste.

  3. there are plans afoot to build two football pitches on newsham park. this would be good in itself; but consider the only reason they are being sited on our park is because of construction on other green field sites close to our park which has meant no space for the pitches.
    the problem with the football pitches comes with the building of a permanent changing room. the final placement of this building has not yet been decided.
    to my horror, one of our local councillors wants to place the changing room right next the existing childrens play areas! why is this a problem?
    the short answer is cars, two pitches, that means about 60 men, how many cars will that bring to be parked outside our play area? on an already dangerous road. if we get the road closed then i would support the placing of the changing rooms, but there is no provision in the plans to close this dangerous road.
    A CAR FREE PARK, NOT A FREE CAR PARK.

  4. I lived near Newsham Park in the 70’s and have very fond memories of the park. I used to go to the park with my friends even though I was only 10 at the time and had to cross Sheil Road to get there, but it was a lot safer then and in the heatwave of 76 used to pop tar bubbles that appeared because of the heat.
    We had a labrador that used to love going swimming in the lake. We also used to go swimming in the baths near-by which I can’t for the life of me remember what they were called and what road they were on.
    I no longer live in Liverpool but always return there for a day-trip with my husband and two girls. I hate to see how run down it is along Kensington especially when it used to be so full of life. We used to go to the laundrette on Molyneaux Road and buy lolly ices for 2 and half pence from the sweet shop on the corner.

  5. As the Vicar of St.Margaret, Anfield, just across the road from Newsham Park, from 1973 to 1989, I spent many hours walking my dog Sandy in Newsham Park, and had a number of congregation and personal friends who lived there, but I also quickly learned what a struggle it can be to get anything worth while done for the benefit of the community, when those who should support you, work against you !
    It was with considerable regret that I discovered that an agreement had been reached between the City Education Authority, and that of the Diocese of Liverpool, that the hundred year old school of ours was to be closed, sold off and the money shared between the City and the Diocese ! We, as a Parish, and founders of the school were just expected to step down and lose everything ! So began what some might describe as a ‘Bloody Battle’ over eight years.
    I managed to get the Dog Track owers to sell us their complete site, but when the day of meeting came, neither the Diocese or the City turned up, and I was left to raise sixty thousand – a lot in those days – within a month, which, Thank God, I did !
    Eventually, the school was built and has since been greatly extendened , even though the ‘authorities’ said there would not be enough children to make it worth while. So much for faith in the future !
    I could go on at great length about the whole procedure, and how we raised over a million pounds
    from an inner city Parish. Again, it now seems little, but then, it was astounding.
    It does not really matter to me that there is nothing at the school or church to indicate my struggle, the main thing is that the Schoopl is there and wonderful.
    But the main point of this note to to say to the people in and around Newsham Park –
    who are trying to save it and its great buildings, ‘DON’T GIVE IN !’
    Keep your efforts going, and you’ll get there !
    We did it before and you can do it again.
    With Every Blessing, Father Bernard Elsdon.

    • Hi Bernard
      Best wishes from Patrick and Andrina Boyle, we have just celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary (27Oct 2015).
      Hope you are well, regards
      Patrick

  6. GARDENS IN LIVERPOOL JOIN IN CAPITAL OF CULTURE CELEBRATIONS
    Opening date: Sunday 29th June 2008
    Two superb private gardens previously unseen by the public, plus ninety city allotments, will open their gates to for the first time as part of the celebration of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year 2008.
    The garden of the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor, Drummond Bone, has previously only been seen by the select few at Graduation garden parties. The large garden in the Toxteth area of Liverpool boasts a rare collection of old shrub roses, a grand formal terrace, grape vine and mature shrub borders. Contact Vivian Bone: 0151 728 8375
    Nearby is the new and developing garden of one of Liverpool’s old merchant houses, Park Mount, overlooking Sefton Park. Here gardener Jeremy Nicholls has been creating a glorious garden using vibrant colours and adventurous planting combinations, with some surprises and many rare plants.
    Contact: Jeremy Nicholls 0151 733 8205 / 07802 676242
    The ninety allotments in Sefton Park will show how well a city plots can provide fruit and vegetables of the highest quality, offering inspiration to other city gardeners. The site includes many interesting community facilities and a plot adapted for disabled gardeners. The site has featured in national TV and film productions – see the ‘Bread’ shed where Lilo Lil held her trysts on plot 89. Contact: Giulia Harding 0151 727 4877
    All the above will open their gates for charity on Sunday June 29th 2008, under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme.
    Sefton Park Palm House will be at the centre of the celebrations with rare and unusual plants for sale, musical entertainment and afternoon tea, and demonstrations from the National Association of Flower Arrangers. Contact: Rosemary on 0151 726 9304.
    Admission is £4.00 with tickets available at all four venues on the day.
    Contact Information:
    Christine Ruth, Press Officer, National Garden Scheme, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. 0151 727 4877 / 07740 438994

  7. I live on Denman Drive and walk through the park every day, rain or shine.
    will not give up on this area, it has great potential and the park is the jewel. everybody needs to be more active, the Friends of Newsham Park and the residents need to support eachother.
    I am hopelessly watching the park getting dirtier and more dangerous to be in and its breaking my heart. Can we please be informed when the Friends of Newsham Park meet next.
    Thank you

  8. I’m looking for help. I am part of a team that runs a Charity that provides support for people with learning disabilities. We want to purchase one of the amazing and grand Victorian houses that are sadly now run down in Newsham Park. We want to restore it and use it as an office for our staff. Our values are based in community contributions not parking our cars where we want or disturbing the neighbours! We would especially be interested in being an advocate for Newsham Park community such as joining the Campaign for Newsham Park’. Where I’m struggling is to find out who owns these beautiful and run down houses. If you could help or have any feedback about our plans please e-mail me on terry_langton@yahoo.co.uk.

  9. Having lived in Newsham Drive (both no’s: 49 and 51)in the very early 60’s it saddens me to read of this once beautiful park and the wonderful houses going to rack and ruin.. I know that no: 51 was gutted by fire and is being restored and 49 is inhabited.. hopefully by a family that loves the house as much as I did as a child.
    Friends keep me in touch with what is happening to ‘my old homes. I no longer live in Liverpool (work forced our move) but am still in love with my city, also very interested what is happening in the future.
    Also concerns me what is happening to the orphange on Orphan Drive..this whole area is sacred to me!
    I have so many memories of Newsham Park.. I lived opposite the ‘Judges house’ used to see them coming home from the Crown court with police outriders still in the wigs and red robes..such ‘Happy days’
    P.S.
    My hubby can remember during the war, the American G.I’s playing baseball at the top of the Drive, near the gates, they were billeted in these houses for R&R, they used to give the kids comics and chocolate..

  10. Terence Burgess

    I had the pleasure of living just behind Newsham Park myself,around 1993.I lived on Fairfield Crescent with the park in full view from my lounge window.I still regret leving what was a beautiful property to this day.It was indeed a beautiful park,i briefly went through part of it a week ago but saw how neglected Kensington & Prescot Road now looks.
    Is it true there is now a college built on Newsham Park somewhere as i didn’t have time to wander too far.If this is true then this is criminal.How on earth did they get planning permission for this!.If this is the case then this is a bloody disgrace & the powers that be should hang their heads in shame.

  11. Mickthecat complains that his environment is being destroyed, as Newsham Park is a conservation area.
    The Academy has proved to be an asset to the local area, though I would not wish to live directly next door to it, as he does. I’m sure this is a problem for him, but we all have our cross to bear in this area. He doesn’t have to live next door to heroin addict prostitutes as I do.

  12. have been trying for some time to get the road that runs through newsham park closed.
    looking for help.
    a car free park,
    not a free car park.

  13. Join Us for a Planting Day in Newsham Park
    Following our hugely successful event last year we’re delighted to once again invite you to join us in planting 300 new rose bushes in Newsham Park.
    We’re meeting on the 26th February ’06 in the rose garden opposite the Lifelong Learning Centre on Newsham Drive, where three large beds have been prepared by the park grounds staff ready to be planted out.
    The tools and all of the plants will be provided on the day so all you have to do is show up in some sturdy footwear! You don’t have to stay until the job is done, and if you just want to come along and say hello rather than get your hands dirty then you’ll still be made very welcome.
    The event will go ahead come rain or shine, so don’t let the weather put you off!
    We’re starting at 10:30 – see you there!
    This event has been generously supported by English Heritage.

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