Netherfield Housing

Netherfield was one of the earliest completed rental housing grid squares in Milton Keynes.

It was built between 1972 and 1977, and its 1,043 houses form the largest rental scheme in the city. The first houses were available in 1974 and by 1981, 2,650 people had moved in, making it the fourth largest new housing community in Milton Keynes. By 1989, the number had grown to 2,850.

Originally, all the roofs were the same flat level. Although the houses were built on rolling farmland, the architects wanted to have the same roof-line throughout, so that single-storey and two-storey houses could be built next door to three and four-storey houses without the roof-line changing. However, so many people complained about the monotonous appearance of their houses and the need for repairs, that the building contractors had to make changes.

Despite the criticism, artists have been drawn to Netherfield: Eugene Fisk, writing in 1981 described Netherfield as being ‘abow-shaped curve of land in the south of the city…The top of the bow slopes down towards the canal, with views of Woughton and Walton beyond. The long rows of houses are corrugated metal (like Beanhill), but the height and change of colours bring us to a different place. Three-storey lengths of silvery-grey stretch across a marvellous planted site. Each house in the terraces is separated from the next by a projecting fin…’ And sculptors have created two ‘special features’ – ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ by Liz Leyh (1976) and ‘Toem Pole’ by Lesley Bonner (1979).

The local facilities inclue: meeting place, combined school, special school, children’s after school club, Red Cross centre, evangelical chapel, MIND councelling centre, doctor, dentist, co-op store, general store, newsagent and post office, chemist, chip shop, Chinese take-away, Woughton Action Centre (community drop-in centre for parish), Sheltered Housing (Buckland Lodge and Langland House), District Housing Office, launderette, bookmaker, public house, retail warehouse.

Taken from ‘What’s Netherfield to you?’ Netherfield’s ‘Book in a Week’, compiled by local residents.

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