Hesters Way

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Hester's Way Post Office

Hesters Way is an area in the western part of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. It is home to Gloucestershire College's Cheltenham campus (formerly Gloscat) and Pate's Grammar School. According to the last Census the district has a population of 5,605 and an average unemployment rate of 4.75% of people who are of economically active age (16-74). Hesters Way is also the generic name for a larger area which includes the council wards of Hesters Way, Springbank and some of St Peter’s and St Marks. This larger area has a population of about 15,500[1] and includes the largest social housing area in Gloucestershire[citation needed]. The first Anti-Social Behaviour Order in the UK is believed to have been issued by Cheltenham Borough Council (through the courts) for a resident of Hesters Way.[2]

Retail[edit]

Hesters Way has a relatively large retail centre within it named Coronation Square which includes a supermarket, an optician, a dental practice, a newsagent, charity shops, betting shops and a variety of fast food outlets. After a number of years of decline, a regeneration programme for the shopping centre was started in 2013.[3] More recent signs of new life include the opening of innovative new business Create on the Square.[4] There is also a public library with free internet access and DVDs for hire.

History[edit]

It was originally built as a Wimpey no-fines council area in the 1950s and 1960s to house people working for GCHQ and local engineering companies. Changes that took place over the following thirty years adversely affected the area and reflected changes in society in general. Owner occupation, structural changes in the economy and the make up of the housing stock and subsequent housing allocations led to a concentration of relative poverty in this area of predominantly social housing.

Regeneration[edit]

Hesters Way has been the focus of regeneration over the last decade with a newly built community resource centre.

In addition several new private housing developments are currently in progress, the largest of these being on the site vacated by GCHQ, when it moved to its new site, also located in Hesters Way.

India and Pakistan House[edit]

India and Pakistan House were built February 1959: Two eight-storey blocks of flats approved for Hester's Way providing 78 homes. They were heralded as monuments to modern architecture.

1960: The first residents move in.

July 1984: Cheltenham Borough Council carries out £100,000 of repairs to the outer cladding.

November 1989: India House residents complain lifts have been out of action for two weeks.

January 1993: More than 100 residents are evacuated after fire breaks out in Pakistan House.

December 1993: Tenants say the reputation of the flats has been tarred by vandalism, muggings and fears of fire.

July 2004: Council leaders vote to demolish India and Pakistan House.

November 2004: Fire breaks out in India House. The council unveils plans to turn the flats into bed and breakfast accommodation.

September 2005: The flats feature in two episodes of BBC1 drama Casualty .

January 2006: The flats are earmarked for demolition

Overall the blocks of flats were demolished due to the high crime and low maintenance of the blocks. The demolition of several blocks of council flats (most recently Pakistan House and India House) which were derelict and deemed an eyesore. They are systematically being replaced by a mix of private and housing association houses and flats.

More information[edit]

More information about Hesters Way including text and pictures from five volumes of local history is available at http://historyofhestersway.co.uk/

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°54′30″N 2°7′0″W / 51.90833°N 2.11667°W / 51.90833; -2.11667