Fresh new look means renewed hope for estate

The new square at Colyers Gardens, which has been built to repace the former Lincoln Way, Corby
The new square at Colyers Gardens, which has been built to repace the former Lincoln Way, Corby

These tree-lined streets are a world away from the homes which stood in this spot just a few years ago.

Lincoln Way was the estate in Corby people often didn’t venture to after dark.

Tales of drug dealing and prostitution and violence plagued the area for years, and houses were virtually unsellable.

Teenage yobs ran amok, targeting vulnerable people with missiles, and a notorious derelict house nicknamed Osama Bin Laden’s Cave became a hideout for drug addicts.

Eventually, Corby Council had had enough and demolished the majority of the estate and gave it a fresh start.

Even former residents cheered as bulldozers moved in between 2004 and 2007. Now, two years after building work began, a £15m transformation has taken place.

The decaying 1960s houses have been replaced by tree-lined streets and smart homes owned by teachers, Army personnel and office workers.

Out of 146 homes built by developer BeLa Homes at Colyers Gardens, there are only eight left to sell. Thirty were handed over to Corby Council to become the first new council houses in the town in 40 years.

Colyers Gardens sales and marketing manager Ben Burge said: “It’s surpassed all expectations. I live in Corby and knew of the problems at the old Lincoln Way. I used to sell homes there for about £5,000 in those days.

“But people really want to live here now. The square is fantastic, and the houses are really attractive, energy efficient and have solar panels and rain-water harvesting.”

Army corporal Jeremiah Francis and his wife Surelene moved from St Lucia to Colyers Gardens with son Kermal, five. Surelene, 24, said: “Jeremiah’s sister lives in Kettering and we came here because the houses are cheap.

“Despite what people think, I don’t miss the weather.”

Doreen and Allen Evetts, married for 53 years, retired to Colyers Gardens from King’s Lynn.

Their daughter Karen Thomas, a former Army warrant officer, also lives on the estate with husband Gordon.

Doreen said: “The house is just the right size. Our rain water goes into a holding tank so when the sun comes out it warms up. We also have solar panels.

“We like Corby town centre – it’s very compact and you can easily get a bus or a taxi. It’s a lovely place to live and we have no regrets about moving.”

Although there have been accusations of financial mismanagement by Corby Council – the district auditor said the authority had settled bills for thousands of pounds before checking the work had been carried out – progression is set to continue.