Spaces & Places – Houses at Newton Garth
Post by guest bloger Jenny Handley:
These houses are a bit of a mystery. My fascination with them began when I worked for a local estate agent and one of them came up for sale. They are probably the ugliest houses that an estate agent has ever had to sell. However, they are rather appealing in a ‘different’ kind of way. For a lot of them the garage door complete with letter box, is the front door. This creates a sort of urban, funky, concealed entrance… which is in total contrast to the Mediterranean-style balconies on the top floor! At the back, each house has a further, first floor balcony and sliding patio doors that open to tree-lined communal gardens.
After scouring the planning department, library archives and internet I can find not a scrap of information relating to these houses. All I am almost certain of is that they were built in the 60s and won an architectural award when they were built for use of space. I did read somewhere that architect Derek Walker – Milton Keynes master planner and designer of the Royal Armouries in Leeds, drew up the plans for them. However, the information that the planning department would normally have is missing, Newton Garth Management Company seem to be un-contactable and when I visited the street, not a resident was to be seen! This only deepens my curiosity for them and I have written to Derek Walker, now 83, to see if he can shed light. I would love to see some original design drawings or a photograph from when they were brand new. I have also posted in the Chapel Allerton forums to see if anyone who lives there has any information, so if anyone out there does, please comment!
As far as I know most of the houses have 3 double bedrooms. They are extremely spacious and full of light, with a garage and loads of storage – very functional. They could easily make a unique and trendy home especially if you put some work in and went for a retro 60s interior. The area is probably not the best, as you can see has been described bluntly by an anonymous graffiti artist – “Rough” and the row looks like it could do with a bit of tlc but despite their blatant ugliness, for me these unusual flat roofed houses are definitely a love rather than a hate! More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/69134332@N03/