Built 1976 to provide council accommodation for an expected rising number of elderly, Croft Court proved to be an extensive complex managed by Ashfield Homes. Comprising flats and bedsits all linked by a network of covered walkways sharing communal facilities initially including alarms to alert warden care assistance.
This Main Street car park invited visitors, although foot entrances into the connecting walkways could also be found at various points off Swanson Avenue and Back Lane. My grandmother Mrs Walker spent her final years here among other elderly residents. Unfortunately they noticed the sheltered corridors soon attracted gangs of young drug users able to force quick escapes through a vandalised labyrinth. Frightening off the elderly left vacant rooms to be filled by some desperate cases, seeing out ultimate demise into demolition.
Another block of flats retained on the right between Back Lane and Swanson Avenue helped in rehousing. Fencing off the entire Croft Court safely began salvage operations, witnessing full site clearance by 2002. Less time was apparently needed to then privately construct a row of bungalows facing onto Back Lane.
Clearing the central area allowed separate residential development by extending Swanson Avenue, lining both sides with similar type retirement bungalows. But where this steep roadway climbs off Main Street, an individual block of retirement care flats addressing Summerhill Court shares 1970s prefabricated designs.
Self contained care assisted flats suiting most dependant seniors are more readily sighted off Chesterfield Road. Built just after Croft Court and sharing those prefabricated designs used elsewhere around Ashfield, these replaced site of old Harper Lane terracing while taking name from one former private house topside.
Written 12 Feb 13 Revised 26 Apr 13 © by Gary Elliott