Penny Lane in Liverpool is one of Liverpool’s most famous streets. How sad then that the high hopes of this community have been dashed so many times, as they try to secure their dream of a Millennium Green and a Centre for visitors and locals alike. A decade waiting is quite long enough. Now there must be some action.
Ten years is not a long time in the life of a city, but it can be in the life of a community. In that time people can arrive and depart, have families or see their youngsters leave. Many things determine the likelihood of any of these events, not least changes in the tone and appearance of that community’s actual location.
These thoughts came to mind as I recently made a visit to Penny Lane, that part of Liverpool’s inner suburbs, not far from my own home, which has been immortalised by our most famous sons, the Beatles.
Does it have to take a decade?
Ten years ago local residents decided they would like a Millennium Green and a Centre for locals and the many visitors, on the Grove Mount site of fairly undeveloped land along Penny Lane. After much hard work they secured a promise of such an amenity as long as they were able to secure the land and produce a sensible business plan. As part of the celebratory activity following this promise, I took ‘before’ photographs of the area – which I had hoped would swiftly be superseded by the ‘after’ photos.
Three cameras and thousands of photographs later, I’m still waiting.
The City Council has made various vaguely encouraging noises over the years, but nothing of substance seems to be happening. The field still hosts very occasional children’s football matches, but is if anything is more derelict than before. It is strewn with litter and worse; and the building in the corner is in a serious state of collapse.
Unfortunately, much the same can be said of some people in the local community. Local youngsters (by no means a majority of them, but enough) use the field to hang out, disturbing and worrying other residents, whilst those who campaigned for the Millennium Green hand on grimly to their dream, never having imagined when they began that so much later still there would be no evidence of success.
Is this the way to treat people who give whatever they can of their time, imagination and enthusiasm in trying to improve their community?
Someone once said that a theme to which I consistently return is People Power. Too right, if what is meant by that is respecting and helping decent folk to maintain the areas in which they live. This, in my books, is a requirement on us all.
For now, the only satisfied ‘resident’ of the proposed Penny Lane Millennium Green is the cat who suns himself on the entrance pillars to this sorry, derelict site. I really hope that before long the powers that be will get a grip, and that, before the humans decide to give up completely, this happy little felix will have to relocate.