Jack McBane at the Eldonian Village with his book, The Rebirth of Liverpool - The Eldonian Way _320
A BOOK chronicling the journey of a trailblazing Liverpool community will be used as an example of successful urban regeneration across the world.
It is 31 years since the present community of Eldonian Village, in Vauxhall, was first conceived, and yesterday a publication documenting its history and achievements was launched.
The book, entitled The Rebirth of Liverpool – The Eldonian Way, was showcased at Eldonian Village Hall, on Burlington Street, and dignitaries attending included Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Cllr Steven Rotheram and the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Rev Patrick Kelly.
The book tells the community’s story throughout the last 30 years in the residents’ own words, and chronicles the early history of settlers in the area.
In 1977, residents in Vauxhall’s tenements were facing the demolition of their homes and the dispersal of the community across other areas of Liverpool.
However, they fought plans and worked with planning professionals to create the sustainable community that is Eldonian Village.
The development has won major awards for regeneration and the book will now be used across the world as an example of successful urban renewal.
It was funded by the Academy for Sustainable Communities – a Government agency – which wants to highlight the village as a model for modern developments.
The writer of the book, urban regeneration expert Jack McBane MBE, who has had a long association with the community, said: “It is a great sense of accomplishment for everybody involved. This is the community’s book and the individuals within it – I don’t see it as my book really, most of it is based on interviews.
“The people here made this wonderful place possible, they fought and made it happen. They are the only people who refused to be dispersed across the whole city and won against considerable opposition.
“Many communities could have done the same and it is not too late, there are valuable lessons.
“The area is managed by the people who live here and they do not accept bad behaviour, they maintain the good environment.
“A lot of present-day urban renewal in Liverpool would not have happened without the Eldonians – I doubt British Waterways would have extended the canal ways up to Pier Head – there is a huge legacy and finally it is documented.”
The village is an unusual success story, with many urban projects of the same era now looking tired and unloved in comparison.
Residents say this is due to their closeness and integral involvement in the village’s creation.
Tony McGann, the community’s leader, is especially happy the book has been produced: “We have had people from all over the world come here to see what has been achieved and now this document can help other communities.
“It will show young people of the future what can be achieved.
“This is not it though, we will continue to work together.”
THE book is priced at £14.99 for paperback and £35 for hardback, and is available from most bookshops, or at www.liverpool-unipress.co.uk