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The Croft, Stockbridge Village
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|EU Parliament||North West England|
Stockbridge Village is a settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, England. The population of the ward at the 2011 census was 6,018. It was the subject of an article in a special report by The Economist entitled "A new kind of ghetto", which described it a predominantly White area of high unemployment and low aspirations.
Cantril Farm was built in the mid 1960s to rehouse some 15,000 people from inner-city slum clearances. It was part of a deal to rehouse some 200,000 people from inner-city Liverpool in new residential areas beyond the city's borders, with other families from inner-city Liverpool moving to other overspill places like Leasowe, Huyton, Kirkby, Halewood, Skelmersdale and later, Runcorn New Town.
The land on which Cantril Farm would be built was purchased by Liverpool council in 1961 for a sum of £132,500.
The first homes on the estate were ready for occupation during 1965, but initially the estate lacked facilities such as public transport, health care and shops, these facilities not being provided until about 1967. Mobile shops were located on the estate until permanent buildings were erected. The first pub on the estate was opened in 1968, around the same time that the first bus routes were established. Subways were also erected to underpass the busiest roads on the estate for pedestrian safety. Small supermarkets were also erected in the late 1960s and the Withens Shopping Centre opened in 1970.
St Jude's Parish Church was opened in 1972 at a cost of £40,000. St Albert's Roman Catholic church opened in 1966, and later on Cantril Farm Methodist Church opened. A second Parish Church, St Brigid's, opened in October 1967.
In the autumn of 1968 two primary schools were opened on the estate - St Albert's and St Brigid's.
Cantril High School was also opened to serve pupils aged 11–16, but it was only open for just over 20 years, closing in July 1991 due to falling pupil numbers. It was damaged in an arson attack not long after its closure and eventually demolished.
A total of nine tower blocks were built in the late 1960s, however four of these were demolished in the 1990s and the five that remain have been refurbished in a multi million pound regeneration project which covered the whole estate.
However, the estate was in deep decline by 1980. There was a riot on the estate in 1981. By 1982, unemployment on the estate was at 49% among males and 80% among young people. burglary and violent crime were rife on the estate. Shop units were becoming vacant. Household spaces were also becoming vacant as families were wanting to leave the estate and the vacant properties were difficult to let to new tenants. Two school buildings on the estate were wrecked in arson attacks and had to be completely rebuilt. Car theft was a serious problem in the 1980s and 1990s, when joyriding was at its peak nationally, as were arson attacks on parked vehicles.
Stockbridge Village Trust Limited was established on 18 February 1983 as a non-profit-making Private Company limited by guarantee. The estate within the Borough of Knowsley, which was owned by the Borough Council, was conveyed to the Trust on 6 April 1983, at the District Valuer's valuation of more than £7million. This resulted in the Cantril Farm Estate being split, with two-thirds owned by the Trust, and one third owned by Liverpool City Council. The main part of the estate was renamed Stockbridge Village, while the section in Liverpool retained the Cantril Farm name.
As well as the demolition of the tower blocks, some 600 maisonettes and 340 low-rise flats were also bulldozed. The remaining properties were refurbished. The layout of the estate was altered to improve vehicular access. The shopping and recreational areas of the estate were also improved or replaced.
All council properties on the estate were transferred to the Village housing association in 1995.
In 2010, further regeneration work began on Stockbridge Village seeing a number of changes, such as the famous Heat Waves swimming baths being demolished as well as St Dominic's school being replaced by a new community centre and two new schools.
- Footballer Micky Quinn grew up on the estate and lived there from 1967 until 1986. His father Mick Quinn senior now runs a pub in the area.
- Footballer Ian Bishop moved to the estate just after he was born in 1965. He later played for Everton, Manchester City and West Ham United.
- Former Liverpool striker David Fairclough grew up on the estate after moving there as a child in the 1960s.
- Comedian/actor Craig Charles moved to the estate just after he was born in 1964 and lived there until the 1980s.
- Singer Paul Rutherford, a member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood (whose "Relax" and "Two Tribes" hits topped the UK charts in 1984), also grew up on the estate after moving there as a child from an inner-city slum area when it was built in the 1960s.
- The indie band Space wrote the song "Neighbourhood" about the bandmembers' own experiences growing up on the Cantril Farm estate.
- Joey McLoughlin, a professional cyclist who won the Milk Race in 1986, grew up on Cantril Farm as the youngest of 10 children.
- Former goalkeeper Billy Mercer was born on the estate in 1969. He was a youth and reserve goalkeeper for Liverpool from 1985 to 1989 but never played a first team game. He later played for several lower league clubs, and kept goal for Chesterfield in their famous run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997.
- Comedian and actor Jamie Bixby, who stars in the Liverpool based sitcom Cinerama and has his own talkshow on YouTube called Silverscreen, has lived there all his life.
- "Knowsley Ward population 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- "A new kind of ghetto". The Economist. London: The Economist Group. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Carl Stanley, Peter Hooton – interview with The Farm frontman and influential music writer, 23 October 2011
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