Addison's council estates: of rent rises, strikes and homes for heros

Zardoz Greek zardos777 at
Fri Apr 15 23:08:00 BST 2016

>From the Royal Town Planning Association - - - bless'em

RTPI Yorkshire “Homes for Heroes” (1920s) Report on the 2nd RTPI Centenary Seminar

Prof Robert Finnegan (Bradford University) reminded us that in 1914, just as soldiers were preparing for war, landlords in Leeds raised the rents in the inner city district of Burley by 6p per week. This led to a city-wide rent strike and a clear demand for affordable rented housing. This became the clarion call for the City Council to commence building council houses. 
However it did not prevent all those participating in the rent strike from being blacklisted.
There was general concern in Parliament with the political ferment that was gathering in Ireland, Europe and Russia in the middle of the second decade. 
In 1915 30,000 tenants in Glasgow went on strike. There were street committees and mass pickets which led to landlords deducting rents they were owed directly from the Govern ship workers’ pay packets.
As a result the Government feared a national dock strike and this quickly led to the enactment of the Rent Restriction Act, which forbade any further rent rises and introduced rent controls for the first time.
It is recorded that in 1914 there were 78,000 back-to-back properties in Leeds, which represented 70% of the housing stock. The oldest type I properties were built at a density of between 70 and 80 dwellings per acre, type 2 between 50 and 60 dwellings per acre and type 3 back to backs with small front gardens and yards were built at 40 dwellings per acre.
During World War I, 10,000 soldiers from Leeds were killed and there were 80,000 who returned home looking for a better life. It was estimated that between the wars 54,000 homes were required, principally to replace the slums of the type I back to backs.
Following the rent strikes that has taken place before the war, the Housing and Town Planning Act (the Addison Act) 1919 gave Councils both the powers and the impetus to commence major slum clearance programmes and to provide “Homes for Heroes”.
Leeds, being a compact city, chose to provide the majority of houses under the Act on greenfield sites on its periphery. 
Initially dwellings were designed around garden city-style development but these were not cost-effective and building and design standards soon slipped. In total, between the wars, it is estimated that only 3300 or 16% of new houses were built under this regime. However, by 1924 it was estimated that the Addison Act style developments accounted for 62% of all new properties built.
These included developments at Crossgates, Hawkswood, Meanwood, Middleton and Wyther Park.
However, with the additional costs associated with travel and increased rent, whilst the properties built under the Addison Act were clearly of a higher quality than those they replaced, this was at the expense of community life. Very few, if any, facilities including shops banks and social facilities were provided in the new developments. In addition, residents found there was a two shillings increase in rent and 16 shelling increase in rates 
that they had to find in addition to travel costs.

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