"The most callous act of wanton destruction"
This letter sent to the Star was written by Mary Steele, Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, S5
Throughout the lengthy article lamenting the shortage of council housing in Sheffield (January 17), the council squarely lay the blame at the door of the Tory ‘Right to Buy’ policy.
A policy which, though questionable, deprived nobody of a home.
Noticeable by its absence, however, was mention of what must rate as one of the most shameful periods in the history of local councils when Labour perpetrated the most callous act of wanton destruction upon the homes of those giving them power.
Razing hundreds of solid homes to the ground on the pretext of ‘undesirability’ or in the name of regeneration, they caused misery and mayhem amongst those targeted who, in reality, simply had the misfortune to live in prime areas close to open land or overlooking wonderful views proving desirable to developers.
Immediately recognising the folly of such a deliberate act of vandalism, campaigners were branded ‘backwoodsmen’ and ‘akin to Luddites’ seeking to halt the march of progress.
Today, barely 20 years later, that ill-conceived council plan has proved a most retrograde step, depriving subsequent generations of secure council housing and delivering them into the hands of private landlords whose ghettoes of the past were home to their forebears and from which, ironically, they were mercifully delivered by the advent of council housing.
No attempt, by Sheffield Council, to verbally whitewash this disgraceful episode from history will prevent its consequences long echoing down the years to come.