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Reclaiming The Land: L8 Matters Community Land Trust

Scally Mag Team

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Scally Mag looks at L8 Matters CLT, and how private property developers and their actions have ignited a community resistance…

 

 

Private developers in the city over the course of a significant period of time have attempted to, or succeeded in buying up plots of land within inner city communities. This land has often been used to develop private properties, with little or no return for those who come from or reside in these areas.

 

One of the areas in the city subjected to the intrusion of private property developers is Liverpool 8. In recent years, the area has seen many attempts from developers- some successful and some not so- to build student accommodation and private properties through land acquisition.

 

Atop of Kingsley Road, one of the main arteries of the area, saw the development of student accommodation, despite there being a housing crisis in the city for people who need long term safe and affordable accommodation. A couple of streets across sits The Caribbean Centre. The centre has been a hub of cultural activity and celebration for generations. From ‘blues’ parties to basketball games, and the ‘bashment’ to the facilitation of myriad educational events, The Caribbean Centre has been of significant importance to the community for years.

 

In 2019, The Elliot Group- a property developer- signified their interest to the council owned site with a view to purchase and develop the centre into 400+ apartments. This sparked outrage from many locals, and a campaign called ‘Save The Caribbean Centre’ was launched. The campaign remains active to this day, and it remains to be seen what will happen next.

 

These examples are just a couple of scenarios where we see the continued disregard for the communities and the people within them that developers and, at times, the council has. This unremitting disdain for those who do not own the means of production has fostered a sense of togetherness and the willingness to organise in order to reclaim the land in Liverpool 8.

 

L8 Matters Community Land Trust has been set up in order to provide resistance to the ongoing issues within the area with regards to housing and land. West Tree Estates, another developer who have been in dialogue with the council, want to purchase land on Ducie Street in L8 to push for further private development. This incident seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sonia Bassey of the CLT explains that “the issues in Kingsley Road highlighted what was happening with Ducie Street and that we had do something to prevent things like this continuing to happen to our communities.”

 

Community land trusts are set up and run by those from the community, or those who have an interest or relationship with it, in order to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. They act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what those from the area earn.

 

The L8 Matters Community Land Trust is in its embryonic stages and is hoping to develop its membership in order to establish a variety of voices, skill sets, and a renewed enthusiasm to help keep the fight against private developers fresh and energised. Alongside the core aims what are usually expected of Community Land Trust, L8 Matters CLT also aims to create training and employment opportunities by the provision of workspace, building and/or lettings for use on favourable terms, as well as carrying out any other activity that the Directors consider to be for the benefit of the community to further its social and economic regeneration.

 

The fact that Community Land Trusts are becoming more popular, not only in the city, but across the country, is representative of the notion that communities are increasingly disenfranchised and are willing to repel and organise against anybody who does not act in their intertest. We have already seen the formation of Homebaked CLT in Anfield who organised in 2010 in light of the government backed Housing Market Renewal Initiative, and the implications this had for the community.

 

According to the National Community Land Trust Network, there are approximately 300 incorporated CLT’s in England and Wales, with 935 CLT homes built to date. There are also more than 1600 community led homes in the pipeline.

 

L8 Matters CLT is another demonstration of a community mobilising to ensure their best interests are represented, and that agency and autonomy in the face of the bourgeoise is promulgated as a reminder that unity is strength.  

 

To get involved with L8 Matters CLT you can email them at L8MattersCLT@gmail.com