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Last of the false starts for Stonedale?

It’s no secret that the Stonedale Crescent estate is at the centre of a huge design overhaul, and the process has been gathering pace in recent weeks.

A large focus group on 23rd April in the Communiversity, Altcross Road, saw the bringing together of residents, local organisations and businesses, and representatives from Gillespies – the masterplanners – Cobalt Housing, Liverpool City Council, and Hemingway Design, who will be spearheading the reformatting of the estate.

Hemingway Design, who have redesigned over 100 estates similar to Stonedale, are focusing on maximising the potential of the estate, redoing the outside space, and redesigning the landscape of the estate itself.

Stonedale has experienced some antisocial activity in recent years, much of which is linked to the layout of the estate itself. The estate is a typical Radburn design – many Radburn estates up and down the country have experienced similar problems due to the way the area is designed.

Gillespies were appointed by Cobalt in January, and have since attended consultation events and conducted surveys, trying to get residents’ opinions and feedback on what they want to see changed on the estate. From these sessions, one thing is clear: residents love their estate, and would never want to move, but there are things that need to be changed.

The houses facing inwards means that there is a lack of natural surveillance, especially in the back corners, where fly tipping is common; the crescent shape that runs off Stonebridge Lane means there are issues with scrambler bikes driving around Stonedale Crescent. The four corners with small alleyways act as rat runs that enable people to gather, and then disperse quickly when the police arrive.

A drop in session at the Porchfield Community Centre in mid-May revealed some potential ideas for how to estate could look, drawing on what residents had highlighted. There are limits with how much Cobalt can actually do with the existing estate, as there is a high owner-occupier population; however, Cobalt has recently acquired land next to the estate, where a range of new homes will be built starting next year.

By August, Gillespies will have produced a high-level masterplan for how the estate will look. However, making this plan reality will not begin right away, as its completion is subject to receiving further funding.

Alt Valley Voice contacted Cobalt Housing for comment:

‘The funding received for the Masterplanning exercise has come from the Department of Communites and Local Government and this will help kick start the regeneration of Stonedale. Residents views are really important to us, and any changes that take place will be in full consultation with the local community. Cobalt will build new high quality homes, that will complement any redevelopment of the estate'.

Local resident Ron Thomas, who lives on Invergarry Road, told Alt Valley Voice: ‘We’ve been promised things so much, that a lot of people don’t bother going to these meetings anymore. We’ve lived there for 8 years, but recently we’ve watched the estate just go down’. The estate feels isolated, which causes problems, as there is no easy way to get to the shops on the East Lancs.

Ron said, ‘It’s alright for younger people, as they can cut through the gaps in the railings and go through the Showcase carpark, but older people can’t, as they trip and fall over, so have to walk to whole way around’.

Hopefully, this is the last false start for Stonedale, and the estate’s full potential will finally become realised.

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