Local housing . . . a work in progress

Houses on the ‘new’ Denefields Estate

I’m going to try something different with this piece, and that is to try to leave it quite open-ended, as I’m waiting for feedback on my facebook query in Allendale area notices, about local affordable housing. So today’s entry might not be actually ‘finished’ today, but only after a few days/weeks of thoughts. First though, some relatively recent history on housing developments, starting from recent times and going backward.

There’s a lot more houses available in Allendale now then there were oh, a decade ago, I guess, just before the Denefields Estate was created, bringing some 22 affordable houses within reach of many local people’s finances. Also around that time, the Allen Garden set of 3 affordable houses was developed by Allendale Community Housing and built by Newman Developments, on what was then the old Deneholme Annex building site. Before then, the only new ‘housing’ developments in the area were the little estate of some five houses at Five Lane Ends, and the transformation of Ashleigh House at Five Lane Ends into large apartments at around the same time as the building of a new house at the corner where the old petrol station was.

‘In town’ as it were, the Heatherlea, having sat empty for some years, was transformed into three ‘luxury’ flats. Shortly before, some twenty years ago now, the first two units of Denelands Estate were built by another developer, and then completed by Newman Developments in 2000. You have to go back to the Dale Park estate, also built by Newman Developments, to find the next most recent housing development (incidentally, topsoil from the development of Dale Park was used to create the hill on which the big ‘wave slide’ was situated on the recreation ground, around about 1990 at the same time as the New Hall was built). Before the New Hall and Dale Park were started, of course, Forstersteads was begun around behind the Fire Station off Shilburn road (from 1984-1988); both Forstersteads and the New Hall (“best camouflage of a flat roof you could ever imagine”) were also built by Newman Developments as well.

Very few new individual houses have been constructed in and around Allendale over the past few years, but there is one near to Bridge End and another just on the outskirts of Catton. Some large individual houses have also been built up The Dene as well. But, new houses aside, there is a steady and persistent history of estate building, and new housing stock, in Allendale over the past thirty plus years.

Proposed, or in the pipeline, is a development of 17 houses up Lonkley beyond Rectory Cottage, of which a few may be ‘affordable’ if this development gets off the ground. Also the new Dale Manor development in the market square will help to finance two adjoining flats in that complex , targeted for local people. But some local folks are worrying, in Allendale area notices, about recent developments (notably the Sunday Times recent list of the ‘101 Best Places to Live in the UK’, which includes Allendale in the top 10 places to live in the North-East) which, it’s feared, will drive house prices up even faster, pricing local folks out of the market.

The housing development at Denefields did create quite a surplus of rental accommodation locally, as folks moved out of their previous dwelling places and into Denefields houses. I suspect that surplus housing supply has settled down by now, though I remember it well. The current facebook conversation, though, in response to worries about affordable housing being restricted for local habitation, has a variety of suggestions on offer:

  • chat with the Parish Council at their next meeting to see what’s on the cards for local affordable housing;
  • consider the glut of houses merely standing empty in the village — how can they be brought back into play for locals to inhabit?;
  • consider the regional mayoralty election for which apparently the mayor will have the capacity to commission new housing;
  • beware the trap of ‘holiday houses’ which has turned parts of Cornwall into ghost towns for 9 months of the year.

What next? And what about need? Well, that’s about it from me for now, but I’ve asked for any feedback on this matter for presenting here in the diary, so we’ll see if any additional housing strategies/complaints/suggestions can be forthcoming for editing in, shall we? Or, corrections on any housing development I’ve misconstrued, of course. [I’ve already been busy correcting dates and ascribing correct building details to the skeleton sense I had of the estates noted above, thanks to Trevor Newman.]

Paul Mingard writes to note: ” There’s a map in the local history cupboard in the library showing all housing developments including individual houses from the 1950s to near the millennium. They are colour coded by decade.” I imagine that would include the sequential developments of Wentworth Park, which had gone back further than my potted history above could reach.

Incidentally, if we were to want to go back even further in twentieth century housing developments, the Newman family also built Allen View in Catton, most of Station Road (New Line) including Heathcote, and all of Allenfields. And George Newman built Allendale Middle School (as was, now Allendale Primary, of course) in 1950.


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