Mr Alford discusses the pros and con of the high-rise flats in Stevenage
“I remember working on some myself, and again thinking of those brave new, beautiful buildings in the sky, lovely place to live.”
Interviewer: Were you in favour of these high-rise flats?
Mr Alford: Well, shall I say when we first looked at the idea of having some, the planners liked the idea of some, Mr Vincent was the planner. Liked them in that they did relieve the monotony of two storey housing if one looked at the whole area and we agreed this did make a more interesting outlook, and we did start to build some. In fact I remember working on some myself, and again thinking of those brave new, beautiful buildings in the sky, lovely place to live. One’s not very conscious of the social consequences at the time. There was very little information about the social consequences, although sociologists now like to say it was obvious. I don’t think it was obvious to anyone. Certainly we had plenty of land, so we hadn’t got a great need to build high; and we didn’t in the end, I mean the number of high buildings in Stevenage was comparatively small. The two very large eighteen storey blocks, three thirteen storey blocks, and this is the sum total of the; the others we had some four or five storey blocks. I think the great thing about them was to try and get the right tenants into them, there are people who would still like to live in them, and who have lived in them quite happily for many years. But they don’t suit family accommodation or people with changing families.
Interviewer: I’ve been in one of these high-rise blocks and there appeared to be luxury flats.
Mr Alford: Yes I think this was the intention, certainly the first block built in Sish Lane, Chauncy House, built right in the very early days, they were built really as a luxury flat. They were very expensive in the early days to rent.