Friday 28 July 2000 marked the completion of Kingfisher Housing Association's first phase of rebuilding the Precast Reinforced Concrete (PRC) homes at Firsway, Whitchurch. To commemorate this occasion Sir George Young, MP for North West Hampshire planted a rose bush appropriately named "Happy Times".
To the left of Sir George is Richard Smith Wright, Chairman of Kingfisher. Next to Sir George is Cllr Rose Wellman. Deputy Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane; and on the right of the picture, Chris Whittaker, Regional Director of Lovell Partnerships, the developer.
Each of the residents who have moved into their new homes will receive a rose bush for their garden.
The original site consisted of 19 houses and bungalows which were structurally unsound. These are being replaced by 50 modem energy efficient houses built by Lovell Partnerships. Building started in April 1999 and the cost of the Kingfisher Housing Association homes, will be £3million. Around £900k of which has been given in the form of Social Housing Grant from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to provide 31 new homes to rent. The site will be completed in the Autumn 2001.
Speaking at the opening, Sir George said he got letters on housing which said one of two things. "The first message is that those who live in Hampshire find that their children simply can't afford to live in the area where they grew up. Their incomes don't stretch to house purchase in an area where prices are high. The second message was that the villages and towns should be protected from over-development, and the green fields of Hampshire should be left alone. Schemes like Firsway can help square the circle. Where there were 19 PRC houses in poor condition, there will soon be 50. And the 50 will blend into Whitchurch because they have been well planned and well-designed."