RESIDENTS have celebrated the 40th birthday of what was once one of Liverpool?s most notorious estates.
Netherley was built on farmland on the edge of Gateacre four decades ago for tenants moved out of unfit housing in Liverpool city centre.
But the promise of better housing gave way to damp, vermin-ridden conditions and unsafe concrete walkways and underpasses.
Eventually, many of Netherley?s flats and maisonettes were demolished in the 1980s to make way for new houses, and more recently, a shopping centre and leisure facilities were built.
Residents recently marked the anniversary with a community party, and guests included veteran campaigner Eric Hodkinson, who once went on a hunger strike to highlight Netherley?s problems.
The 73-year-old grandfather shared his memories of the estate, at one time labelled ?a planner?s dream and a tenant?s nightmare?, but now home to 8,000 people.
Mr Hodkinson, who is now a board member of Lee Valley Housing and chairman of Liverpool Tenants? Association, said: ?Netherley has changed dramatically in its 40-year history. In the early days, we had to suffer insanitary conditions, as well as poverty, crime, drug addicts and squalor.
?My actions at the time were seen as extreme, but it was the only way to draw attention to the housing conditions we all had to suffer.?
As a tenant in the 1970s, Mr Hodkinson and his family endured appalling conditions in flats in Brittarge Brow.
He eventually set up camp in St John?s park, in the city centre, where he went on hunger strike for two weeks to draw attention to his and his neighbours? plight.
Lee Valley Housing took over management of council properties in 2003, making improvements to 1,700 homes.
About 1,000 people enjoyed the birthday party, which was supported by the housing association.
St Gregory?s youth and community project, Woodland community centre, the Christian Revival centre and Christ Church community group joined forces to put on the event.
Jo Hallmark, neighbourhood housing officer, said: ?The 40th anniversary was a great way to get everyone together to celebrate the turn around of a once-blighted estate.
?We are hoping to set up an active tenants group in Netherley and make the party an annual event.?