Celebrating 100 years of council housing in Newark and Sherwood

A celebration to mark 100 years of council housing took place at Gladstone House in Newark on Wednesday.

Wednesday July 31st marked the centenary of the Housing, Town Planning Act 1919 receiving royal assent. It is generally known as the ‘Addison Act’ after the Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Addison.

The celebration opened with a speech from Rebecca Rance, chief executive of Newark and Sherwood Homes, who commented on how council housing in Newark and Sherwood has changed since she became chief executive during the company’s inception in 2004.

Rebecca commented: “Through the Addison Act 1919, Local Authorities were given the task of developing “Homes fit for Heroes” to deal with the serious housing shortage after the war. Backed with Government financial support, it enabled the construction of council housing at scale, bringing about the birth of council housing as we understand it today.

“With a changing population, the country is facing a housing crisis still. However in late 2018 the Government announced it will be ending the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Borrowing Cap, allowing more new homes to be built.

“At Newark and Sherwood Homes, in partnership with Newark and Sherwood District Council and Woodhead Group, we are pleased to be delivering a wide range of housing to meet the varying needs of people across the district. These high quality affordable homes are improving the lives of our tenants and helping to solve the national housing shortage.”

During the event, two council tenants who will be turning 100 during the twelve months following the centenary date, Mrs Gladys Featherstone and Ms Irene Cox, were presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Visitors, guests and Gladstone House residents were treated to musical arrangements on the piano and harp, while enjoying tea, coffee and cake. The cakes were provided by event sponsors Brakes, MKG and Bakkavor.

Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “We’re extremely proud to have been ahead of the game for some time now, building our own council houses to create new homes for current and future generations. As we celebrate 100 years of council housing, Newark and Sherwood residents can look forward to many more to come – family, single person and specialist housing that meet the different needs of our population.”

A special exhibition titled ‘A History of Council Housing’ was also unveiled at the event. Produced in collaboration between Newark and Sherwood Homes and Woodhead Group, the exhibition has three parts; past, present and future.

The past section features stories and images of some of the first council housing developments, comparing them to how they look now, years later.

The present section features current council housing developments being built by Woodhead Group on behalf of Newark and Sherwood Homes as part of Newark and Sherwood District Council’s five year Housing Revenue Account development programme.

The future section includes drawings by children from four local primary schools, Chuter Ede, Barnby Road Academy, John Hunt and William Gladstone, on what they think a house will look like in 100 years.

Michael Broadhurst, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Woodhead Group commented: “It was a pleasure to see how engaged the local schools have been; their creative ideas on what the future of housing will be has certainly sparked conversations. We are delighted to be celebrating 100 years of council housing with our partner Newark and Sherwood Homes, marking the importance of new high quality homes for people across the district.”

The programme of work has been procured through EEM, a not-for-profit procurement consortium which aims to deliver best value for the public sector.

Councillor Keith Girling, Deputy Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Newark and Sherwood Homes Board Member, added: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements Newark and Sherwood has made providing council houses and raising the standards. We are punching well above our weight and leading the way with ambitious plans for more. Long may it last.”

The moving exhibition will be available to view across the district during a series of free family fun days being hosted by Newark and Sherwood Homes throughout the summer. The events will take place between 11.30am and 2.30pm at the following dates and locations: Thursday 8 August at Ambleside Community Centre, New Ollerton; Wednesday 14 August at The Green Community Centre, Bilsthorpe; Wednesday 21st August at Cleveland Square Community Centre, Newark and Wednesday 28 August at The Bridge Community Centre, Newark.