Sunday, 15 May 2011

Knott Flats

I vaguely remember knowing where some of the ‘social housing’ was in Oklahoma City, in the north east part of town. I once visited a friend from work there and it was pretty grim. Did we call them tenements? Projects? It’s too long ago to recall the name we used. Vanessa didn’t recommend living there – she had some horrific stories - but it was affordable and her mother was there to help look after her son.

The 'beach' at North Shields

Social housing here in England varies a lot, though I’m no more well versed about it here and now than I was there and then. I gather it’s ‘means tested’ but strangely enough one can ‘inherit’ a council house tenancy and some council estates are fairly pleasant. I gather the main thing that makes or breaks a council estate is not so much the architecture as the inhabitants. There are some pretty tough cookies living on public money around here.  Some vulnerable people who would easily qualify for a flat would prefer to live rough on the streets rather than deal with the harder characters and, but for the climate here, I’m not sure I wouldn’t be amongst them.

Sunday Fish & Chips at the 'beach'

Unless of course they offered me a flat with a south-west facing balcony and a view of the river and the sea. I figure the tenants at Knotts Flats in Tynemouth are pretty well behaved folks. I met a woman who lived there once, through another friend, and she remarked that loads of people who usually didn’t bother with her became her new best friends just before the Tall Ships race.  (They came to Newcastle in 2005 when I was still working in the city centre; I'll have to dig out those photos for you some time.)

Knott Flats

The land for Knott Flats was given to the Council for social housing by a gentleman named Sir James Knott with the proviso that it could only be used for social housing. I’m not sure what would happen to the ownership of the land if the Council decided to change it’s use, but I reckon that hill has to be worth a pretty penny.  They have some great views from their windows.

We’ve been on the waiting list for an allotment garden now for about 3-4 years and George, the allotments liaison officer – our neighbour – told us today number 88 is available and there’s ‘only’ about 50 names in front of us. One can only imagine what sort of waiting list there might be for Knott Flats…


Happy Homemaker UK said...

I think we called it 'public housing' in the US. I'm an expat from OK too! So great to 'meet' you here :) XOL

LPC said...

Such an evocative set of photos.

Rick Stone said...

We call these places "Section 8 housing" from the section of federal law that covers subsidized housing for low income. These are mostly older, a bit run down apartment complexes, which are now scattered all over the city.