It was five years ago when I watched the old Brown Lane East ‘back to backs’ being bulldozed to the ground. Rubble, dust and memories from the past formulated and hung the air. After a short space of time the empty land was filled with beautiful wild flowers planted by Holbeck in Bloom. Now, standing in the space are the brand new Harding Villas, named so by the children of the local Ingram Road Primary School.
Today (19 December 2014) contractors Keepmoat and Unity housing presented their first public viewing in the new show house. I joined ward councilors Angela Gabriel and Adam Ogilvie local community members Dennis Kitchen, Ian Pickup, along with some year 3 children from the primary school for a peek inside. As I stepped in from the blustery weather I was greeted by lots of faces and excited chatting, and the heating is on, it’s a fully functioning house! We gather in the newly fitted kitchen, plastic sheeting still covering units and floors. The light streamed through the windows making this show home bright and welcoming.
Project Assistant Melissa Gallimore (Keepmoat) separated the children into two groups and took them on a tour of the property. The children equipped with hard hats and high visibility jackets, formed an orderly line in the soon to be front room. Considering the anticipation of the tour and their new environment they contain their excitement incredibly well.
Continuing their learning out of the classroom, they are handed a pen and paper and asked memory questions: ‘Who knows what the colour of the front door is?’ Excited hands reach into the air.They spend the rest of the time going round importantly filling in their exercise sheets resting their paper on whatever worktops and panels are available.
Regeneration Director Wayne Noteman (Unity Homes) says this is a significant day for the children from Ingram Road, as they have been involved with the development from the start. They’ve seen the land being prepared, they have helped name the houses, and now they are invited to see what the houses look like inside, completing the building cycle.
Unity Homes and Keepmoat will also be hosting a ‘meet your neighbour event’ for Harding Villas at Holbeck Working Men’s Club on Saturday 10 January 2015.