Mr and Mrs Dingley lived in Manor Court for 51 years, and have now moved to a bungalow not far from the flats. We sat down with them to find out about their move and life in Manor Court.
What was the flat like when you first moved in & what did it mean to you to live in Manor Court?
MRS: They were new and modern and lovely and in Netherton, big and spacious. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else.
MR: We both worked about a 3 minute walk away.
MRS: My parents lived round the corner, next to the girl who grew up to be my son’s long term partner. Andrew’s school was also just down the road too, so it was very convenient.
What was life like in the flats for you?
MRS: It was fine! We got on great with our neighbours; I get on well with everyone. One of my old neighbours actually phoned me this morning. We all keep in touch with each other. A lot of the neighbours have moved all across the borough, to suit families or work. Some even moved house in November, and we only moved in a month ago. We got the flat in February but were told we could take as long as we wanted to make it our own before we moved into it.
MR: It was very nice of them to give us as much time as we wanted.
MRS: This place was empty when we signed the agreement, so we took our time to make it our own.
MR: We couldn’t have wished for a better place than this.
MRS: When I first spoke to the team, I told them I really wanted one of these bungalows, but I knew they were like gold dust, never thinking that we’d end up in one. Everybody was frantically bidding for this one, and our housing manager bid on it for us. So we class ourselves as extra lucky that we were able to get it.
What was the flat like in Manor Court?
MRS: They were quite big, 2 bedrooms. Or son, Andrew lived with us there his whole life – 48 years.
MR: He was physically born in the flat!
MRS: He’s 49 this year and he’s only just moved out with us. He’s gone to live with his girlfriend now; they’ve been together 20 years.
MRS: He’s been such a huge help with the move I don’t know what we could have done without him. He said himself he’s helped a lot of people with moving house but he’s never known a move go so smoothly because of the bungalow being ready to make our own. The removal men as well were lovely, they were sent by the council and they just put everything where we wanted it and were really good. They’ve all been very good and we can’t praise them enough, we have nothing to fault them for.
Over the years did you get involved with the council or the TRA?
MR: Not particularly. Obviously if we ever needed any jobs done they would always come round quickly and sort them out. We had a tenant above us once who fitted a shower but didn’t seal the bath, and water came through the ceiling of our bathroom and ruined it. But the council were brilliant even with that. We had a new bathroom fitted and fixed in no time.
How do you feel about the flats being demolished & what would like to see done with the land?
MR: I’d like the land to stay as council property. There are lots of people that need to be housed, and the price of houses at the moment means the average working person can’t afford a house.
MRS: It would be great to see more bungalows there, as with the older population increasing there is a growing need for easier housing like bungalows.
MR: The thing is as well, when these people have been working for 50, 60, 70 years and paying their taxes, they deserve a comfortable place to see out their days as thanks for their hard work over the years.
MRS: I don’t think people want to live in high rise flats anymore anyway, and as it got towards the end of our time in the flats I was starting to struggle with the stairs even though we only lived on the second floor. So to eliminate the lifts and stairs from older people’s lives, bungalows would be the answer.
MR: I think with us being the first tenants in the four high rises, they definitely looked after us with finding us a new place, which goes back to me saying that they really appreciate the hard work we’ve done over the years and we’re really grateful for that.
Is there anything the council could have improved on with your move?
MRS: Not at all, it’s been brilliant for us. We’ve had a lot of help from our family and the council, and when people visit us they say it looks like we’ve always lived here! Everything went well for us, we’re very fortunate.
MR: The council has been very fair with us.
MRS: I always said that if the time came a little bungalow would suit us, never thinking that we’d end up with one!
MR: We’ve already made the most of our garden and made friends with 2 birds and a squirrel!