Published: 14:00, 25 July 2017
In July 1947, with Britain still recovering from its participation in the Second World War, people in Dartford were given a morale boost by a visit from the Prime Minister.
Clement Attlee came to the north Kent town with an important duty and an equally important message, stressing the need for great places in which to live and form tight-knit communities in the aftermath of the conflict.
Temple Hill represented just that, with Mr Attlee cutting the ribbon on the so-called Homes for Heroes development.
“We want people to have places they will love, places in which they will live, be happy and where they will form a community and have a social and civic life,” he told residents.
“Here in Dartford you are setting an example of how this should be done.”
Seventy years on and history has repeated itself, with the old Prime Minister’s grandson following in his footsteps by opening a block of new council accommodation on the estate.
Hill View, a development of 25 houses and flats in Temple Hill Square, allocated to families with strong Dartford connections, is the first time Dartford council has built its own social housing for almost 30 years.
Families started moving in back in March, but Lord John Attlee was there this week for an official ceremony, during which he unveiled a commemorative plaque.
“Decent accommodation means children can be socially confident and have a table at home to do their homework, they can study properly and achieve their full potential,” he said.
“It’s no good in the UK if we have a large population of poorly educated, poorly accommodated people.”
This is why Lord Attlee believes social housing like Hill View is so important, as it has been designed with the needs of some of Dartford’s poorest families in mind.
Not that you could be deemed a fool for mistaking it for a commercial development, such is the standard of the homes.
Lord Attlee continued: “A commercial development is done primarily to maximise profits.
“What has been done here is that they have been very careful to give them to deserving families, couples, and individuals, but who have also got strong local connections.”
One such family is Simon Ward, 52, partner Rachel Fry, 30, and their six-year-old daughter Alyson.
They had been living at a council property in Alamein Gardens, where they all shared a single bedroom, but now they have two.
Mr Ward said: “Alyson was very excited when she walked in and saw her own bedroom.
“We love it. It’s really nice and meets our needs perfectly.
“It feels like quite an honour to be considered for one of these flats, with them being the first they’ve built in so long.”
For the council, families like this one are the ideal tenants for the new homes as it in turn frees up other accommodation around the borough.
The same approach is being taken to another social housing development in Shaftesbury Lane and Coleridge Road.
Despite some opposition from nearby residents about the loss of green space, council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) is in no doubt that building more social housing is the right thing to do.
“I’m very pleased, this has been a great project,” he said at the Hill View opening.
“This is all about giving a platform for families to make a good life here in Dartford.
“When you listen to their stories and the difference it’s made to them, it’s all worth it.”