The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Times Issue 2 - May 1989

What's Cooking At The Friary

Back in January 1988 when A.F. Hunt (Builders) Ltd. began work on 'The Friary', no one ever envisaged that this housing development off Gregory Street in Old Lenton was likely to attract national media attention and the probable presence at its official opening of a government minister. This interest all came about because the houses were subsequently purchased by a Nottingham company and became some of the first in the country to be offered for rent under 'assured tenancy' terms.

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The canal side portion of The Friary. Photograph by Paul Bexon.

Eager to encourage private rented housing the government has included clauses in its new Housing Act which give property owners, who chose to enter the rented sector, the opportunity to set rents which can't subsequently be challenged at rent tribunals. Referred to as 'assured tenancies', the rents are to be determined solely by market forces. The government provided further encouragement by allowing companies wanting to enter this assured tenancy market to obtain money from the Business Expansion Scheme.

Petersfield Estates raised two and half million pounds through the Nationwide Anglia First Rented Housing BES Fund and in November 1988 contracted to purchase all forty properties A.F. Hunt was building at The Friary. Some were ready for occupancy by the time the Housing Act came into force on 15th January and so Petersfield Estates' first tenants were able to sign up and move in straight away - a fact that attracted the attention of the national press. Petersfield Estates and its letting agents, Walker, Walton & Hanson, have had little trouble acquiring tenants for the mix of flats and 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed houses; with people even signing up months before the expected completion of their homes.

Some of The Friary occupants have proved to be people who anticipate being resident in Nottingham for one or two years and don't want to sell their existing homes. Quite a number are young couples who simply can't countenance the financial hardship involved in trying to buy their own home, while others have been home owners who have decided to move into the rented sector and put the proceeds of their house sale into investments. All have been attracted by the prospect of occupying a new well-built home. The Friary proudly boasts the Electricity Board's medallion Award which acknowledges the high standards of thermal insulation adopted by A.F. Hunt and the installation of electric space and water heating systems which give the tenants maximum benefit from the Economy 7 tariff. The Medallion Award also means that Electricity Board representatives will call on the new occupants and advise on how to get the best out of their heating systems. Tenants will need to supply their own furnishings but will find the properties already carpeted throughout and the kitchens suitably fitted out. They will not have to worry over much about the 'outside world', for the letting agents will attend to the window cleaning, gardening and routine external maintenance. It should all mean residents could live the life of Riley.

Petersfield Estates expect to acquire more new Nottingham properties in the very near future. Some of these it anticipates will be in or near Lenton. If you would like to learn more, then may we direct your attention to the company's advert elsewhere in this Issue. Before A.F. Hunt acquired it, the land used to belong to Bampton Packaging, which had started up in business here in the 1930s. The river Leen used to run through the site and some of the younger employees had on occasion been known to requisition a little of Bampton's raw materials in order to fashion cardboard boats which they proceeded to launch into the Leen. They lost the opportunity to continue the races in the 1960s when the Leen was redirected under the canal and on across Lenton Industrial Estate into the Trent. The old course of the Leen was filled and so Bamptons gained a little extra space. As most readers will be aware Bampton Packaging moved on to Lenton Lane in 1987, having acquired the building formally occupied by Cripps, the agricultural machinery dealers.

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