The Lakes Estate was the last London 'Overspill' estate to be built in Bletchley. It took some time to build -beginning in around 1968 and not being fully completed until 1975. Bletchley Urban District Council entered into an agreement with the Greater London Council (GLC), who funded the project between them. In October 1966, an exhibition was held at Wilton Hall in Bletchley, presenting what was then known as 'the Water Eaton scheme' to local residents. The GLC held a similar exhibition at County Hall in London.
The land that the estate was to be built on belonged, in the main, to the Gurney family, with a small area belonging to two local charities - the Fuel Allotment & Poor's Land charities respectively.
A new board of trustees had to be appointed to deal with the sale of the charity land to Bletchley Urban District Council (BUDC).The Gurney family had purchased the farm land in Water Eaton from the locally well-known Duncombe family.
Mr John Smithie, Town Manager of Bletchley UDC, approached the Gurney's with the Council's plan for their land in the mid 1960's. The Council, however, did not require the land immediately and told the Gurney's that they could continue farming until a price for the land had been satisfactorily negotiated. The final figure for the Gurney's 120 acres was enough to soften the blow of losing the land that they had farmed since 1921.
Text version
Click on the sound bar to see how much the land for the Lakes Estate cost.
The Council decided, at a meeting on 24th January 1967, that the streets on the Water Eaton estate would be named after Lakes. Hence the area would then be known as the 'Lakes Estate'.
The designs for the Lakes housing were very different from that in the rest of Bletchley. The houses had flat roofs - a feature that it was believed would allow as many of the residents as possible to see the lovely views of the nearby Brickhills that the site afforded.
The Brickhills' as seen from a house on the Lakes Estate
Specifications for the houses were higher than had previously been the case for council housing. Blow-air central heating was installed, and the rooms were of far greater proportions than average too.
The estate was built in a series of phases, and delays between these phases were common - mainly due to financial constraints and builders' disputes. To get the first phase underway, a consortium of builders - Robert Marriott Ltd. and Charles Drabble Ltd. who amalgamated to become Milton Keynes Builders Ltd. - was appointed
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government approved five new types of dwelling, which included two and three-storey dwellings as well as bungalows.
Above: A typical row of 'staggered' style houses.
Left: You can just about see the bungalows here.
A typical kitchen, and a living room showing the generous sizes of rooms in the Lakes houses, shortly after they were built.
The intention was that eventually 2000 dwellings were to be erected with a density of 12 persons to an acre and adequate provision of amenity open space. The weekly rent for a two-storey 3 bedroomed house was to be £3 11s 0d.
Tenants for the houses were to be nominated by the GLC and a small team of officials known as the London Dispersal Group. This group was established to keep under constant review the arrangements for the movement of employees and their families to expanded towns, including Bletchley.
Just one of the many views of the various types of houses and layouts used in the overall design of the Lakes Estate.
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