The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Byker residents are “Big Society” heros

Sounds like good news on Newcastle’s Byker Estate. The grade II was designed by Ralph Erskine, and won international acclaim as a prime example of 1970s social housing development. We’ve been campaigning on it for years. It’s been great that it got listing recognition, but listing alone does not bring in any money and, as with many social housing estates, lack of funds for repairs and maintenance has been a big problem, and parts of it have been proposed for demolition.

Now CLG (The Departmet of Communities and Local Government) has announced that Byker will be put in the control of a community trust and that the Government will be “writing off a local housing debt associated with the estate of up to £42m”.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has described the tenants as “the embodiment of the Big Society”, saying “for years, they have refused to take no for an answer and have campaigned to take control of their own neighbourhood.”

We’ve yet to see what’s proposed in the way of changes and upgrading, but it certainly promising. Now there’s a few more estates I’d like CLG to sort out too……!


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