Barnet Council is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the legislation that allowed some of the nation’s first council houses to be built in the borough.
Edgware’s Stonegrove and Spur Road estate after it was first built, decades ago, and after its regeneration was completed in 2018. It has become the first of seven major growth and regeneration projects to be completed under the council’s Delivering for Barnet programme.
London County Council built over 89,000 homes between the wars after the Addison Act received royal assent in July 1919, providing government subsidies for local authorities to build houses. More than half of them were built in out-of-county ‘cottage suburbs’. The 4,000-home development Watling Estate in Burnt Oak, then in the urban district of Hendon, was the third largest of these (after Becontree and St Helier). It was built on what was previously Goldbeaters Farm as part of London County Council’s drive to build ‘Homes fit for Heroes’.
Construction work began in early 1926, and the first family to make it their home had moved into a Watling Estate council house by April 1927. The picturesque Watling Park opened not long afterwards in 1931. The estate was taken over by Barnet Council in 1980. Council homes in the borough are now managed by its social housing organisation, Barnet Homes.
In more recent years, Barnet Council has worked with a range of partners to increase the supply of affordable housing across the borough. The council has helped deliver an extra 2,724 affordable homes since 2011 by working with private developers to make them an attractive part of larger property developments. An extra 11,391 homes have been built in that period.
Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, Chair of Barnet’s Housing Committee, said: “Council housing has played a proud role in London life for a century. Our borough is home to historically significant estates that continue to serve an important social purpose.
“As we mark this historic milestone, we’re investing in our council homes as part of an ambitious regeneration programme to ensure they meet the high standards required for the 21st century. We want our residents to have access to good quality housing that buyers and renters can afford, long into the future.”
Recent figures show that Barnet delivered 2,360 homes – more than any other London borough – in 2017/18. This has helped tackle the London housing crisis and provide homes for residents on lower incomes.
The 13-year regeneration of Edgware’s Stonegrove and Spur Road estate – first built during the 1960s and 1970s – was completed in May 2018. It became the first of seven major growth and regeneration projects to be completed under the council’s Delivering for Barnet programme. The new development has provided 999 homes, 451 of which are affordable.
The council is currently working with its trading company, The Barnet Group, to deliver nearly 1,000 new council homes – with more than half of them due for completion by 2021. Further social housing will be constructed in the borough through a range of ambitious regeneration projects, creating more than 25,500 homes. The projects include the 151-hectare Brent Cross scheme – one of the largest of its kind in Europe – creating a new town centre, railway station, 7,500 homes and 27,000 jobs.