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High-rise Tenants up in the Air - 
Woolton Residents up in Arms!

Like them, or loath them, the high-rise multi-storey flats came, and they stayed, much to the anger and annoyance of many of the residents of Woolton!

History of the high-rise site
The Allerton estate was acquired by the Council in 1921 for £40,000 and in August 1923 was opened as a 9-hole golf course, later expanded to 18 holes. As part of the highways improvement the second phase of Menlove Avenue was completed in 1924 and effectively cut off the northern part of the Allerton estate, which, as today, is bounded by Menlove Avenue and Vale Road.

Woolton high-rise
Proposed as early as the mid 1950s, construction work commenced on Valeview Tower, opposite Cam Street, as well as the two-storey flats in Vale Close, which face onto Menlove Avenue. When it was proposed that more high-rise were to be built, local residents formed the Woolton Multi-storey Flats Opposition Committee...

At the other end of Vale Road, opposite Linkstor Road, work commenced on the two-storey flats in Linksview Close. This was followed by Linksview Tower...

It wasn’t long before more high-rise tower blocks were under construction, this time of a different style of building with first storey open space.

Work then commenced on Rydecroft and Dealcroft. Because Dealcroft is in a dip in the land it was given an extra storey, presumably to make the tops of the line of buildings look more even. Lymecroft and Dovercroft came next...

High-rise in Liverpool
As time was to prove Vale Road wasn’t the only part of the district of Woolton to be affected by high-rise. High-rise accommodation in Liverpool, generally, wasn’t very popular to say the least. Bad planning in terms of open walkways on some types of high-rise, poor insulation, no double glazing, lack of basic amenities (shops etc.) and few, if any, recreation facilities. Many of the residents being moved in were young families who soon became aware of the difficulties of keeping a watchful eye on their children. Many of the elderly, whilst enjoying the view, felt even more isolated than before saying they missed seeing their neighbours passing by their front window.

The Everton area of Liverpool was badly affected by redevelopment. What Hitler couldn’t do during WW2 the city council excelled at in the 1950s and 1960s with the wholesale demolition of houses. High-rise and low-rise accommodation mushroomed at an unbelievable rate.

Rural areas were not excluded from these ‘architects dreams’ as entire communities were rehoused in new rural estates, including the new town of Kirkby on the outskirts of Liverpool. The Lee Park Estate was followed shortly afterwards by the Childwall Valley Estate, which saw practically the entire length of Childwall Valley Road taken up with prefab’ (prefabricated) houses totalling 1,159 units. It was the largest concentration of such houses in the country.

The early 1960s saw development start at the Mackets Lane/Camberley Drive site and another estate was started on 436 acres in Netherley consisting of five-storey dwellings described as "residential units," which proved, yet again, to be a nightmare for the people who had to live in them – they were nothing more than shoe boxes, some being demolished within a few years of being built!

Three blocks of flats were erected in Haigh Street, near Shaw Street, Everton, in 1965, they were: Haigh Heights, Canterbury Heights and Crosbie Heights. They became so vandal-ridden that they were nicknamed The Piggeries and were demolished in 1987. There was a proposed £1·5m modernisation programme, by a private developer, which was to have turned the flats of these three blocks into one-bedroom flats for £5,000 each, with maisonettes at £6,950 each, but unfortunately it never materialised. They were without doubt Liverpool’s most notorious high-rise slums.

Despite the notoriety attached to some high-rise flats (the stigma of The Piggeries lingered on and tended to blight the mind of some, especially those who have never lived in them) many proved to be popular, especially in Woolton, having so far stood the test of time, with numerous tenants saying that they wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.

Demolition in Woolton
Linksview Tower was demolished, the tenants having being transferred to the other blocks, and replaced with a three-storey extra-care scheme building for the elderly, with on-site care team and community centre. The building was named Linksview, which was formally opened by the Marchioness of Douro. Elderly and/or disabled residents from the high-rise blocks were given first choice of accommodation.

The Age Concern Woolton Resource Centre, High Street, were invited to relocate to the Linksview building taking up residence from 2003.

Although it may be many years from now the demolition of the remaining high-rise blocks, both in Woolton and Liverpool, seems inevitable and the demolition of Linksview Tower was, in all probability, the beginning of the end of high-rise accommodation in Woolton.

Over a period of 4 to 5 years and commencing with the redevelopment of Lymecroft, tenants were vacated taking temporary accommodation in the other high-rise blocks....

As Lymecroft neared completion the redevelopment of Dealcroft commenced with low-key work being started: i.e. the bricking up of the first storey open spaces and the erection of scaffolding. Tenants commenced moving back into Lymecroft and at the same time tenants from Dealcroft were moved to Dovercroft. Some of the Dealcroft tenants, who couldn’t face the prospect of having to move twice, were relocated to Lymecroft permanently.

The 2-storey low-rise flats in Vale Close were demolished and tenants began vacating Dovercroft, most returning to Dealcroft...

At the time of writing (2004) it is expected that all residents will have vacated Dovecroft by December, and work will have commenced on its refurbishment. Demolition of Valeview Tower, Vale Close, will commence in 2005...

 

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