To celebrate the 100th edition of our Construction Buzz Newsletter, we’ve delved into the archives to bring you some of the most influential construction projects from the last 100 years, exactly as they were reported at the time.
The election of 1945 saw a Labour government voted in with housing policy central to their manifesto. Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Health, was responsible for the housing programme which focused heavily on local authority involvement rather than reliance of the private sector.
Evening Despatch, 18 August 1945
BEVAN CALLS FOR HOMES BEFORE THE AUTUMN
Wait for roads order revoked
BRITAIN’S “master builder”, Mr. Aneurin Bevan, the new Minister of Health, who is in charge if Britain’s drive for badly-needed houses, is “facing the future” boldly.
In a “ginger” message to all local authorities in England and Wales, calling for a speed-up in building, he say: “Every local authority should aim at having its first instalment of permanent houses under construction before the autumn.”
The minister adds that if any authority is not likely to be in a position to apply for authority to let contracts for the first batch of post-war houses by 30 September he should at once be informed of the reasons.
The previous condition that tenders should not be invited until roads and sewers are complete is cancelled. Where progress can be speeded up by contracting for the construction of roads and sewers at the same time as the building of the houses this should be done.
As soon as satisfactory prices have been obtained for the first instalment of the post-war
programme, Mr Bevan will be ready to consider proposals for further instalment. Each authority should make arrangements to secure continuous flow of houses on the basis of a programme expanding with the expansion of the building industry.
Steps should be taken now to acquire land for this programme in advance.
The previous condition that only land required for the first two years’ programme should be bought is cancelled. It is particularly important, says the message, that large sites should be in hand well in advance of the time when building can start, so that the lay-out can be planned with proper regard for the essential community services.
The Evening Despatch learns that the first instalment of permanent houses is expected to be about 27,000.
This is the number for which local authorities have up to now been authorised to get tenders.
Sites are developed with roads and sewers sufficient for 47,000 houses.
Mr D. G. Bevan, Birmingham Deputy Surveyor, said today:
“This is a ginger-up programme for backward local authorities, who have not been able to get the help we have had.”
About the cancellation of the two-year programme limit for the purchase of land, he said: “We are already negotiating to buying land well ahead of two years.”
In fact, it was stated: “Birmingham has already planned its housing programme for five years ahead, with all the land allocated.”
The Deputy Surveyor said there was no doubt Birmingham would have its first instalment of permanent houses under construction before the autumn.