Fortress? More like a palace, say happy new Dagenham bungalow residents
PUBLISHED: 08:19 31 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:19 31 July 2014
They might look like fortresses from the outside, but residents on the inside think their new bungalows are a palace.
All one and two-bedroom homes at Luke Allsopp Square, Dagenham, are occupied after keys were handed over on Friday (July 25).
The development came under fire from homeowners across the road in Rainham Road North who claimed the high back walls made the terrace properties look like a “fortress” or a “prison”.
But, speaking to the Post yesterday residents claimed their spacious, modern homes were more like a “castle” or a “palace” then anything else.
Steve Beal, 63, said: “I would describe it as my castle. People are knocking them but they have never seen inside and I can honestly say that everyone who has come into my home has said it’s out of this world.”
The former bus driver opted to downsize to the two-bedroom bungalow from his four-bedroom council house in Bell Farm Avenue, Dagenham, where he lived with wife Vivien, 65, who has since moved to a care home after suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Even if I have to wheel my wife down here I am going to show it to her,” said Steve.
He said his former home had been a “nice place” where the couple had shared “happy times”, but he added: “It was unfair for us to stay in the house when you have got families living in tower blocks.
“We want them to be happy there like we were with our children.”
Former hairdresser Lilian Chipperfield, 72, said her new home was “absolutely brilliant” and like a “palace”, adding: “I have been here for 11 days and it feels like 11 years.”
The development is named after sapper Luke Allsopp, killed in Iraq in 2003 after his vehicle came under fire. The same design and architecture has been used to build 25 bungalows and one adapted home at nearby Alex Guy Gardens, off Wood Lane.
Cpl Guy was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Both men hailed from the Barking and Dagenham area.
Homes on the two secure sites were allocated to tenants by need provided they were downsizing from a larger property, were of pension age and had medical requirements.
Barking and Dagenham Council cabinet minister for housing Cllr Saima Ashraf said complaints about the roadside appearance of the bungalows from neighbours had been made when the development was “incomplete”.
“We are obviously doing something about it,” she said, explaining flowers and trees would be planted to soften the out-facing wall of the homes.
She praised the new homes, saying: “I think it’s amazing that we are having the right people in the right properties. It’s giving us the opportunity to use the other homes and give them to families.”
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