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To think council estates are actually quite nice?

(29 Posts)
Cattleprod Thu 16-Jun-11 12:38:40

I went to an event at one of the local Childrens Centres this week. It's right in the middle of what could be described as the roughest estate in town, with a bad reputation going back decades. The sort of place you might think twice about venturing into alone at night.

It was a beautiful sunny day. The roads were all well maintained and clean, with plenty of free parking. There were open, grassy areas - not just designated play areas but also amongst the houses and flats, although there were at least three playparks with modern equipment, nicely fenced and clean, and large open areas for football etc. There was even a skate ramp. There was a small row of shops and take-aways, including a post office (rare these days), and beautiful mature trees dotted all over the place. Yes the housing was very plain and basic looking, but someone had put in a bit of an effort to make the blocks of flats look a bit less bleak. Most of the gardens were colourful and well looked after. The only downside was the derelict pub, but even that was in the process of being refurbished.

Compared to modern private estates with their tiny houses crammed in and very little on-street parking, and older Victorian terraces with no communal outside space, I was surprised to find myself appreciating how lovely this supposedly awful housing area was (in the daytime anyway).

iMemoo Thu 16-Jun-11 12:40:02

Come and live on my council estate for a week and I bet you change your mind.

RobynLou Thu 16-Jun-11 12:41:37

I live on a council estate and totally agree - plenty of green, nicely planted and maintained trees/shrubs, lots of familys, lovely.

NasalCoffeeEnema Thu 16-Jun-11 12:41:51

It really does depend ont he the estate. I used to live in an ex council house on a mainly council road and it was lovely. Wouldn't want to live in a lot of the inner city ones though. I am lucky

MollysChamber Thu 16-Jun-11 12:44:15

They can be. Depending on who lives there.

Families and pensioners - great.

Heroin addicts - not so much.

elseIlltellyourfather Thu 16-Jun-11 12:44:23

I live in an ex-council house on an estate and it is lovely - children always out playing on the green areas, few roads between house and school 2 minutes away so all the local children know each other and live within knocking-distance of each others homes. Also have MUCH more space than friends' in new builds. Have always wanted someone to appreciate our wisdom in choosing our home smile

Imnotaslimjim Thu 16-Jun-11 12:45:46

I live on a council estate (though I bought my house privately) and the estate here is pretty good. We've got a community garden that the DC love to play in, and a big playing field and park within a couple of minutes walk

Just half an hour away is a different story though. You wouldn't consider walking there on your own in the day never mind the night-time, and it looks awful. There is barbed wire atop fences and some houses even have guards over the windows to prevent break-ins sad

sunshineandbooks Thu 16-Jun-11 12:46:27

Yep, definitely depends on the estate. In my local town there is one affectionately referred to as 'The Bronx'. It is just like you described and was also perfectly ok at night. I lived there for a few years and loved it.

However, I have been to some that are truly awful. A large part of how good/bad they are is down to planning and the era in which they were built, and also the demographic living there. The nicer ones all tend to have had much longer-term tenants who have established communities and have a vested interest i being on good terms with their neighbours, which makes things much nicer for everyone.

I worry that one of the side-effects of the new two-year tenancy agreements suggested by the coalition is that the sense of community will be lost and that people won't put so much personal investment into the properties they let.

veritythebrave Thu 16-Jun-11 12:48:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jeckadeck Thu 16-Jun-11 12:49:49

Your question is a bit like asking whether all restaurants are nice or all Greek people are thieves -- massive sweeping generalization. It depends on the estate, obviously. Some council estates in relatively affluent areas where people are generally in work and retain a sense of community and look out for one another and the place they live in are as nice as any private estates and I'd be chuffed to bits to live there. Some are absolute hell, particularly the ones you see in programmes like Traffic Cops, in areas where there's no work and nothing to do except take smack and steal cars.

knittedbreast Thu 16-Jun-11 12:53:20

i think youl find just as much drug use and addicts in the richest areas/big houses.

EricNorthmansMistress Thu 16-Jun-11 12:57:10

I'd give my right big toe to live in a council house

Cattleprod Thu 16-Jun-11 12:59:30

Yes I appreciate that not all estates are the same - inner city high rise concrete jungles wouldn't have the space for the niceties - the playparks etc. I just think it's a bit of a shame that all estates are tarred with the same brush and assumed to be like 'Shameless' or, as jeckadeck says, Traffic Cop/Drugs Bust type programmes, full of unsavoury characters, addicts and asbo kids. Not having lived there, I can't really comment on the attractions of living there all the time, but as an outsider visiting for the day, I was really impressed at the layout and amenities.

smartyparts Thu 16-Jun-11 13:00:05

I guess it depends on where you live.

The estate near to where I live is not a nice place. I tend not to notice the houses that look smart, and I'm sure there are many, because my eye is drawn to the ones that look a state & have rubbish in the front gardens.

chicletteeth Thu 16-Jun-11 13:02:35

Sweeping generalisations are rarely true.
I bet for every nice estate there is a not-so-nice estate.

Not sure that this is an AIBU, more like a "I saw a nice council estate today, what a surprise" (I'm guessing you're surprised otherwise why would you post it)

I live on one now (privately owned - most are but a typical 50s red brick estate) and love it. my mum bought a house on a new build estate, very middle class and it was hell. You daren't even light your BBQ! Everyone is relaxed here, you can hear young children playing happily, plenty of green space, schools walking distance and your likely to have friends a few doors down etc. The town has a bad rep, but there's something... homely about it's post war kind of working class feeling. I really do love it here smile

Although people have a terrible penchant to pave over their lawns now and sell off excess corner land for development angry sad And all the houses used to be split by lovely trimmed privet hedging - this is one of the last roads mainly like that, although next door ripped up ours (well, MILS) and replaced it (eventually!) with an awful 4ft high panel fence painted a dodgy brown/orange. But most still have their hedges, and roses growing around....smile

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 16-Jun-11 13:11:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thegruffalosma Thu 16-Jun-11 13:28:12

You could be talking about my estate OP. The newbuilds look lovely and modern and there's plenty of green. lovely parks etc. They are doing out the blocks of flats and they look really nice now too. The older housing is a bit grim though.

emptyshell Thu 16-Jun-11 13:29:26

I wouldn't - I lived on one before and I never felt safe in my own home. Despite it being one of the more desirable ones, it still had a group of difficult tenants who'd do crap like trying to set their dog onto my cat, throwing rubbish into people's gardens and general threats, swearing and rudeness if you dared look at them.

Know you get bad apples everywhere but I hated that house and that estate - and I'd never go back for that reason alone.

Mind you - I then bought the house three doors down from one I was renting in our current street purely because of the neighbours and feeling safe here!

Scholes34 Thu 16-Jun-11 13:37:14

It was a beautiful sunny day. Anywhere looks lovely on a beautiful sunny day! Grew up on a council estate and parents still there, and they're quite happy. Most of neighbours nice. Parents used to live next to a dealer, but they'd known him since his was about 4 and as they were kind to his mum he was nice to them. All depends on who you're living close to and you could be very unlucky, but with the council as a landlord, this could offer some support in such a situation.

notso Thu 16-Jun-11 13:45:03

The estate where my Mum and Dad live is like the one you describe, a couple of rougher houses/families but generally nice.

The other estate where all the baby classes are is nasty, lots of boarded up homes, rubbish, drug dealers etc.

Kallista Thu 16-Jun-11 14:09:48

I've had friends put into emergency council accommodation - was not nice. A couple of estates here are ok, most are really not due to gang problems, drugs, and local crime families.
The estates don't look bad but I know lots of people who would love to get out.

tractorinsuburbia Thu 16-Jun-11 22:03:27

I grew up in a council tower block and live on a low-rise estate now, both of which are well-maintained and good places to live. I've got quite a few friends who live on estates too and all of them have been quite pleasant. They are inner city estates too, not in particularly affluent areas, and there is lots of green space and play areas. Mine has been refurbished in the past few years under the Decent Homes scheme and most councils have had to do so.

Many of the older estates have excellent infrastructure and amenities like shopping areas and community halls, because they were built to be communities for ordinary people. A lot of them have quite clever modernist design features as well.

I get a bit annoyed when I see them depicted as places full of used needles and urine-soaked lifts. Many people grow up in private housing and the social segregation in schools etc means that they don't have any contact with estates at all, so they assume that all of them are like that.

TakeMeDrunkImHome Thu 16-Jun-11 22:11:54

It really really depends. I have lived on 2. One about 4 years ago in the south and it was absofuckinglutely awful. Day and night it really was just awful. I live on the edge of one now, in the "grim up north", north. Some are ex council and privately rented (mine) some are still council some are council that are now owned by long term residents (same mix as the estate I was on 4 years ago). This street is lovely, quiet, well maintained, friendly people, family over the road have 3 teenage lads between ages of (i would guess) 14 - 18, all three have separately leaned over the gate when DD and I have been sat in front lawn and said if we are loud/annoying whatever, tell us. Or tell our mum and she will tell us. Lovely lads. It is impossible to define a council estate as being one way or the other. I have lived in a "nice" area and been gifted with neighbours from hell.

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