1950 Slum Clearance

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Summary[edit | edit source]

In a similar fashion to the slum clearances that had taken place before, a further series of slum clearances were planned in the 1950s. Initial analysis reported to the Joint Housing & Hygiene Committee in 1954 that between 1,100 and 1,200 properties would be affected by any plans.[1]

The bulk of the clearances were in the area, although various properties in other parts of the town were bundled up into the planning.

Housing Repair and Rents Act 1954[edit | edit source]

This may, in part, have been a reaction to the Housing Repair and Rents Act 1954. The relevant portions of the act required all towns to make a return to the Local Minister of Housing and Local Government of the council's plans for dealing with unfit houses, together with the total number of houses affected. As a result of this, the Town Clerk requested a joint committee be set up combining the Public Hygiene and Housing committees.[2]

Public Meeting and Concerns[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Act mentioned above being passed, the Borough Council had already been looking at an extensive policy of rebuilding in various areas of the town. A number of property owners expressed concern; there were some twenty one objections to the policy affecting 27 properties[3]; The brewery to which the Dun Horse was tied; the owner of 17, 18, 19 & 37 Cornfield Terrace; a property owner with buildings in Prospect Place, Dorset Place & Middle Street among others, however the Town Clerk, Mr N. P. Lester said that nothing could be done at present, and in any case, should the Council be ordered by the Ministry to proceed, their hands were tied.[3]

Mr Lester wished the site be redeveloped as soon as possible once the final decision had been made in any case due to the shortage of suitable sites for re-housing existing tenants and providing homes for in-comers to the town.[3] This was due to another central government policy restricting the amount of green-space immediately outwith the boundaries of the town that could be adopted for development.

The order was submitted to Central Government for approval on the 15th of March 1957, having been passed by Hastings County Borough Council on the 13th of November 1956. This covered three areas;

Clearance Areas[edit | edit source]

Area 1 was reportedly predominantly in the area and it was anticipated that those that had been dispossessed would be housed either on the Down Farm estate[4] which had been constructed in 1957/8, or the replacement flats that were planned for on Halton Flat.[5]

Further mention is made to Priory Street[6] in addition to Cornfield Terrace; a property owner with buildings in Prospect Place, Dorset Place & Middle Street

There is mention of Bexhill Road in connection with the 1950s planning - is this area 2? [6]

Area 3 consisted of the following properties:[7]

Tender for Contractors[edit | edit source]

"The Joint Finance. Housing and Public Hygiene Committees recommended to the Town Council Tuesday (29 Jul 1958) that tenders be invited for the demolition and clearance of the remaining premises In the Clearance Areas Nos. 1/1 and 1/2 as a whole; in three separate blocks; and in three separate blocks, excluding buildings 140 and 142. Priory Road, and garage at the rear No. 138. Priory Road. 1a. Albion Street. 1a Egremont Place. garage and builder’s yard, Halton Crescent. They also recommended that it be left to the three chairmen of the committee to consider and accept a suitable tender or tenders".[8]

The demolition work required on 87 houses at was put out for tender in August 1958.[9]

Construction of new housing[edit | edit source]

Since the end of WW2,by 1954, some 899 new houses had been built. In part this was to replace properties damaged during the war, but mainly to accommodate the pre-war slum clearance areas and others awaiting housing.[10]

By April of 1957, the construction of housing on the Down Farm estate was reportedly proceeding well, so well in fact that one councillor whose house had a view over to the slopes of the estate reported it resembled a barracks such was the quantity of brickwork visible.[11] In total, 133 homes were to be built, some of them to be in small four storey blocks of flats.[11]

Clearance of the area was planned to commence during October 1958, starting from the South Western end and new housing on the Down Farm estate was being released in monthly batches of 6-8 units per month to keep up with the clearance work. The duration of this phase of the project was estimated to be twelve months.[12]

1960s Clearance[edit | edit source]

In 1962, there are records of Compulsory Purchase orders covering Gensing Road, Alfred Street and North Street.[13]

Footnotes (including sources)[edit]

  1. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 October 1954 pg.2
  2. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 16 October 1954 pg.4
  3. a b c Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 18 October 1952 pg.7
  4. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Thursday 03 April 1958 pg 1
  5. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 January 1954 pg.12
  6. a b Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 03 August 1957 pg.7
  7. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 16 March 1957 pg12
  8. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 02 August 1958 pg.3
  9. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 August 1958
  10. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 January 1954 pg12
  11. a b Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 13 April 1957 pg.3
  12. Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 18 May 1957 pg. 8
  13. The Keep