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Article from Kettering Evening Telegraph dated 12 August 1987 presented by Margaret Craddock

No Place Like Home

Photograph of Councillor Marian York in front of the Orlit houses
Councillor Marian York involved in a survey in connection with the Orlit houses shown behind her

An entire street in Burton Latimer could be bulldozed after major structural defects.

Kettering Council says the concrete Orlit homes will be too expensive to repair.

Many of the residents have lived there 40 years and face not only losing their homes but their place in a long-established neighbourly community.

Peter Anderson visited some of them to gauge their reaction to the news.

Photograph of Mrs Mills and her dog, Bobby
Mrs Mills and her dog, Bobby

Home is where the heart is, they say. For Jessie Mills, home at 4 Spinney Road, Burton Latimer, is more than just four walls and a roof.

In the 40 years she's lived there she's seen the death of her husband and the growth to manhood of her two sons. Her five grandchildren and one great grandchild have taken their first faltering steps in her living room.

These days her neat three-bedroomed semi is home to only herself and her ageing poodle Bobby. But Mrs Mills, 69, is not lonely. Her family is just a short walk away. And she can always see her neighbours for a friendly chat and a cuppa.

Like Mrs Mills, one in three of them has lived there since the 40 houses were built.

The neat, well kept gardens and lack of litter show it is a street in which people are proud to live.

Now, the friendly and caring community which has taken four decades to establish is under threat from the bulldozers. The houses are suffering from a form of chemical "cancer" and their concrete walls are decaying. The council is negotiating with a housing trust about demolishing all the Spinney Road houses and building new ones on the site.

Residents are likely to have the option of moving into the new ones or others elsewhere. Old people like Mrs Mills will get first choice of new homes for the elderly planned at Meeting Lane in the town. Mrs Mills will be sad to go - even though she admits her house is cold and damp in the winter. She said: "It's beautiful round here - lovely. You're near the town and near the country. The buses go right by here. The neighbours are very friendly. I wouldn't like to go but as I'm getting on in years I suppose it would be better to move nearer to the town for shopping and such like."

Photograph of Mrs Radcliffe and her daughter, Michelle
Mrs Radcliffe and her daughter, Michelle
Photograph of Mrs Elmore
Mrs Elmore

Mum Irene Radcliffe, of number 24, worries about schooling for her daughter Michelle, 6, if they have to leave. She said: "She's been at East Lea St Mary's for two years and it would be a shame to move her. Everyone's so friendly round here and it's so quiet. The children can play out and everyone knows them to keep an eye on them. I wouldn't object to a brand new home as long as it was on this site."

Susan Elmore has lived in Spinney Road for 18 years. Her husband Michael was born there and they have brought up their two sons there. She also does not object to new homes being built on the site if they have large gardens and separate dining and living rooms as she has now - and as long as she can stay close to her friend and neighbour Truda Swannell.

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