Last post sounds for concrete homes

SHAUN LOWTHORPE They were concrete homes fit for heroes built for soldiers returning from the First World War. But this week saw the last post signalled for 20 houses in Norwich as a demolition team moved in.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

They were concrete homes built to be fit for heroes returning from the first world war.

But this week saw the Last Post signalled for 20 houses in Norwich as a demolition team moved in.

Around 500 Winget and Underdown concrete block houses were built in the city during the 1920s.

But structural problems saw them condemned as defective, and since the 1990s Norwich City Council has been working with housing associations to demolish 84 and build 117 affordable houses and flats in their place

The work is a partnership between Circle Anglia, Broadland Housing Association and City Hall.

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The development in Earlham to the west of the city, which includes The Avenues, Gunton Road, Elizabeth Fry Road and Bacon Road, first met a lukewarm response from residents.

That prompted a rethink and revised plans to win over the community.

Peter Goodrick, development manager for Circle Anglia, said: "The demolition marks the end of an era for this part of the city. Building work will start shortly which will utilise the land more effectively and provide high- quality affordable housing to meet the current housing need."

Hereward Cooke, executive member for housing at Norwich City Council, said: "I welcome this demolition, one of the last in a period of sustained regeneration. It will pave the way for the provision of good-quality affordable housing for those who need it most. These 117 homes for rent will be of great benefit to families in housing need across Norwich."

Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing Association, said: "This final phase of demolition is fantastic news. It signals the start of work on some much-needed, high- quality affordable housing for the area.

"The support of the local residents of North and South Earlham is extremely important to us as we look to build not only homes, but a strong community."