Toxteth Church

Toxteth Church undergoes £2.2m transformation

Chloé Vaughan

The derelict St Bernard’s Catholic Church in Liverpool has been developed into 16 affordable homes by Housing People Building Communities and Onward Homes.

Both developers worked in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Liverpool to help complete the scheme. Ainsley Gorman Architects, Hamptons NW Development, quantity surveyor Wilkinson Cowan and Sutcliffe Engineering also aided the delivery of the project.

Ainsley Gorman provided the initial drawings free of charge and the Archdiocese of Liverpool gifted the building and land.

The future residents also helped to build the homes by completing 500 hours of sweat equity each, totalling 10,000 hours of unpaid labour, in order to reduce their deposit on the properties by £10,000. Their sweat equity contribution included everything from painting to website design.

The homes include four two-bedroom apartments, ten three-bedroom and one four-bedroom homes all contained within the church, and one detached three-bedroom home within the grounds. The church has retained architectural features including the original stained-glass windows and vaulted arches.

This is the latest project from HPBC which built 32 homes on neighbouring Alt Street and Kinglsey Road.

HPBC chief executive Liza Parry said: “It has shaped a new community and it’s given us a tremendous boost to finalise the development so the properties can become a home for so many who have worked so hard.”

Lin Powell, head of development at Onward, said: “This innovative project wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic collaboration of all the partners involved.

“I’d like to thank HPBC for choosing to work with Onward on this ambitious development, and would particularly like to thank the contractor Hampton Developments NW for how they have fully embraced the ethos of the project and supported the home partners to ensure they completed their sweat equity hours.”

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There were 7 Catholic parishes in the Liverpool neighbourhood of my youth and each would host five Masses per Sunday, such was the demand.

There’s a PhD thesis in the reasons behind the collapse in Mass attendance. Good to see former churches like St Bernard’s put to good use, though.

By Sceptical

PhD thesis? More like GCSE essay

By I don't believe in Beatles

Great news. Well done to all involved. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

By Joe G

Fantastic scheme which contributes well to the wider positive changes happening around Kingsley Road

By CMW

This development has completly changed the feel of the area for the better. We live a stones throw away and couldnt be happier. Can i add that the contractor and the team involved were a pleasure to have around. Thier interaction with the neigbours and local community was very uplifting to see. They couldnt do enough to help the locals especially the elderly or infirmed. Well done all involved.

By Ronnie B

I had a good walk around here yesterday purposely to see the restoration of this former church. I was amazed by the changes in this part of Liverpool 8. The church looks lovely, but the whole area has really come on. There’s another set of beautiful new 3 storey houses half way down Granby Street, and that borders on ‘Granby 4 Streets’, I think they call it, which is looking good, with most of the old houses restored now. But I couldn’t believe how Lodge Lane has come to life with restaurants and food stores from half the countries of the Middle East and North Africa it seems. You get the sense of a real community, and a wonderful multicultural friendly community too. Let’s love Liverpool 8, there’s a lot to love!

By Roscoe

Rough area

By Chat

You might think it rough, @chat, but it has a huge amount of character, and you have to applaud the way it’s moving forward. Unlike most inner-city areas you might bracket with it, Liverpool 8 retains a very historic urban fabric over most of its area and includes two very historically significant parks, Princes Park and Sefton Park just next to it. The urban fabric and the resourcefulness of the people are helping to create something quite special. No other city outside London has an area of the same quality and richness as Liverpool 8 just outside of the city centre boundary.

By Liverpolitan

1) The Church was never derelict,
2) The Area is rough, but improving.
3) Toxteth has a sense of community most would envy.

By Craig

Thanks for the positive feedback. In reply to Craig’s comments:
The church was indeed derelict.
The area lacked investment for many years but I think it’s incorrect to describe it as ‘rough’. It’s a vibrant area and the 48 families who’ve moved into the homes are testimony to that.
The sense of community is absolutely enviable.

By Liza Parry