Thatched houses up for grabs

COULD these be the oldest council houses in England?For as long anyone can remember these two Tudor cottages in the Suffolk village of Tattingstone have been owned by Babergh District Council.

COULD these be the oldest council houses in England?

For as long anyone can remember these two Tudor cottages in the Suffolk village of Tattingstone have been owned by Babergh District Council.

But now they are vacant, the council has, reluctantly, decided to sell its only two thatched properties and re-invest the money in much-needed social housing.

And it has prompted housing chiefs to question if there are older local authority properties anywhere else in the country.

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Chris Foti, Babergh's head of community development, said: “They may well be the oldest council houses in the country.

“It's is very difficult to get hold of small, thatched cottages in a Suffolk village - they are at a premium.

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“They are two really unusual council houses and we'll be very sad to see them go.

“But we have to be practical about this and think about the people we can help by selling them.”

The two-bedroom homes in Church Road are currently in a poor state of repair as their former residents had lived in them for a long period without modernising them.

To take them to the Decent Homes Standard, which they currently do not reach, it would cost Babergh around £24,500 to £45,000 for each cottage.

Instead the council plans to sell them in their current state, hoping to raise £170,000 or more for each one, and ring fence the cash raised for more affordable housing projects in the area.

Councillor David Wood, ,who sits on Tattingstone Parish Council, Babergh District Council and Suffolk Country Council, as well as being a resident of Tattingstone, said he was in two minds about the decision to sell the houses.

He said: “I think it is a sad day that they have decided to sell them.

“They were a gem in the crown but the money that needs to be spent on them to bring them up to standard is quite phenomenal.”

Babergh's overview and scrutiny committee has recommended to the strategy committee to sell the houses in their current state. However they will not be sold until the full council has voted on the plans.

Are you sad to see the council houses sold? Do you live in a one-off council home? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

Council homes

The Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 encouraged local authorities to improve the housing in their area and was the beginning of council houses.

Then the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919 led to the creation of large-scale council housing in the UK.

The introduction of the Right to Buy, under the Housing Act 1980, led to many council properties being purchased by sitting tenants.

In the UK, the social rented sector makes up around 20 per cent of the housing stock.

In 2001 another unusual council house, a chapel in the Shropshire hills, was put on the market for the first time in its 800-year history.

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