We are the families of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close.
We are being threatened with eviction so our landlord can make profit by building new market-rate homes.
As UK council housing stocks have reached their lowest level since records began, the private rental homes on Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close must be considered as the “new normal” for social housing: affordable long-term tenancies for families that cannot make it onto the housing ladder. The estate actually began life as state-owned in the 1950s, as the National Coal Board sought to develop affordable, comfortable, and long-term houses for miners and their families. But it was sold off to a private developer in the 1980s, and the whole area has since undergone varying levels of development.
Though these post-war Airey-design prefab buildings now house only a handful of miners and their direct descendants, the estate’s community is still largely of the same character: low income, working class and inter-dependent. Parents send their children to local schools, work within walking distance and have strong connections with neighbours. The redevelopment of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close would fundamentally change the character of the estate and wider Oulton and would remove a vital safety net for many families and individuals that have failed to get on the housing ladder or get a council home, and for whom market-rate local rents are virtually unaffordable.
We are not taking this threat lying down.
Pemberstone’s planning application has glavanised us into action. We have established a Resident’s Action Group, with Cindy Readman as Chair and Mark Field as Vice Chair, and we are actively engaging with Leeds City Council, local councillors, civil society organisations, and media organisations to garner support and to stop this from happening. You’ll see from our media page that we are trying to get our story across to as many people as possible, and we would love to hear from you if you want to cover our campaign.
You can help in other ways, too. Just follow this link to our “How You Can Help” page and you’ll see lots of ways to help #SaveOurHomesLS26