Speke Regeneration

The first real sign of the transition from ruin into regeneration came when the Ford Motor Factory, at the Halewood site on Speke Boulevard, became Jaguar Cars. The factory where the Ford Anglia, Corsair, Cortina, Zodiac, Zephyr, and Escort cars were built had a troubled industrial-relations history throughout the 1960s and 1970s and, at times, the parent company nearly closed the site down.

However, it survived and, by 1993, in a joint venture, Jaguar Car body-panels were being produced at Speke. By 1998, the factory had been designated as the site for the production of the re-launched X-Type Jaguar and a transition began from ‘production-line values’ to a ‘total quality management’ system, producing vehicles of the highest quality in a completely redesigned and re-built factory and manufacturing process. The last Ford car left the Halewood factory in 2000 and the site officially became Jaguar Cars. This was a real indicator that the re-birth of the industrial and commercial life of Speke and Garston was beginning.

And then, and together with the rest of Merseyside and Liverpool in particular, Speke was destined to receive major injections of funding from the European Union – throughout the latter half of the 1990s and the opening years of the new millennium. This money, and the agencies established to spend it – which were the Speke-Garston Development Corporation, South Liverpool Housing, and the Liverpool Land Development Company – have fuelled improvements in the housing stock and infrastructure, and the regeneration of Speke, Garston, and the surrounding districts.

Since 1996, Speke has benefited from a major public-sector-led regeneration programme to revitalise comprehensively the economy of the area. Following a successful ballot of Council tenants the first major stock transfer took place in the City. South Liverpool Housing took over the City Council owned housing stock, in the then Speke and St Mary’s Wards. These properties benefited from major investment, and a programme of internal repairs (central heating, bathrooms, kitchens, and double glazing) was completed within four years.

These improvements are now obvious as one drives through Garston Village, and along Speke Boulevard: past the Speke District Centre, Estuary Banks Commerce Park, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and the Shopping Park, and on into Liverpool City: or, as they make their way to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

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