Minister visits Battersea to mark 100th anniversary of the dawn of social housing

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

New Housing Minister Esther McVey met housing estate residents in Battersea today (Wednesday) during a visit to a new Wandsworth Council home building scheme that’s providing 57 new council homes for local people to rent.

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Esther McVey meets estate residents Jacqueline Heeks, Charlene Smith and Harry Goonewardene

The minister was visiting Battersea to mark the 100th anniversary of the Addison Act which ushered in a step change in council house building in the UK.

The Act gained royal assent on July 31, 1919 – providing council housing with support from central Government for the first time. The Addison Act was introduced following the post-war Government’s pledge to build homes “fit for heroes” in the aftermath of the First World War.

The minister today toured a new council home building development on the Savona estate which is providing 57 new homes aimed at Wandsworth residents on lower incomes.

Wandsworth was chosen as the location for the new minister’s first official engagement in London because of the council’s ambitious pledge to build 1,000 new council homes by 2025 for local people on lower incomes.

The buildings in the development she visited today are being named after three First World War soldiers from the borough who were each awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry – Britain’s highest award for courage and bravery in the face of the enemy.

The first block will be named Edward Foster Court in honour of Corporal Edward Foster, a Wandsworth Council employed dustman from Tooting who was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing two enemy machine guns during efforts to liberate a French village from German occupation in 1917.

During her trip the minister met residents from the Savona and other nearby housing estates as part of her visit.

Minister of State for Housing Rt Hon Esther McVey said: “It was a privilege to meet the residents of the Savona estate today, on the 100th birthday of Britain’s council housing.

“For the past 100 years, council housing has provided a decent, affordable, secure home for millions of people in this country, and I want to see it continue to play a key role for the next 100 years and more.

“I want the people who move into Edward Foster Court to be as proud of their new homes as we are of the First World War hero after whom it is named.”

Cllr Kim Caddy, Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “I was delighted to welcome the new Housing Minister to Wandsworth on the exact centenary of the Addison Act and I’m proud that Wandsworth is playing its part with our 1,000 homes scheme and our two major regeneration projects.

“Here in Wandsworth we have approved a wide-ranging package of measures, including buying and building new homes so we can ensure that people in genuine need receive help and support and can be offered permanent homes close to the areas they grew up in.

“We are also committed to surpassing the London Plan targets set by the London Mayor including increasing the supply of affordable homes - with 3,000 built over the past decade and around 2,000 more due to be completed within the next three years.”

Cllr Caddy (in foreground) welcomes the minister to Edward Foster Court