In 2008 it was agreed with our major funder, Greenham Common Trust, that we would seek to replicate the success of our work in the nearby parish of Greenham, concentrating on Pigeons Farm and Nightingales estates. The area shares a similar profile to Bishops Green and is facing many of the problems that Bishops Green was experiencing when we first started work there.
The Nightingales Estate
The Nightingales Estate is a large housing estate on the outskirts of Newbury, located approximately 2 miles to the South of Newbury town centre. This hilly area was constructed in the early l970’s. The houses were originally part of the former Newbury District Council housing stock before transferring to Sovereign Housing Association in 1987. The Estate also incorporates residential accommodation for the elderly, a general store, a community centre and a primary school. The area is close to Newbury Retail Park.
High Density Housing
Housing is high density in a plain style typical of the period. Garages are in blocks, with only pedestrian access to many homes. A variety of properties are available on the estate from one-bedroom flats to two and three bedroom houses. The area has suffered a slow decline over the last thirty years and has become stigmatised in the otherwise affluent town of Newbury.
The Nightingales Estate, according to the 2004 Indices of Multiple Deprivation, is shown to be the most deprived area in the West Berkshire district.
Willows Primary School
In 2007 Greenham Court Primary School was re-launched with a new name and new outlook. The school re-opened as The Willows Primary School on 19th April 2007. The school was one of 50 in the country to be chosen for a £325,000 government cash boost to turn around its fortunes. In 2011 under the leadership of Executive Head Alex Butler, the school came out of special measures with the Ofsted report concluding that it is a now a good school.
Pigeons Farm Estate
Formerly officer accommodation for forces serving at the nearby former Greenham Common Airbase, the estate includes the former baseball diamond, a leisure facility that has been neglected over the years. The old electronic scoreboard has been subject to vandalism and is in a dangerous state of repair. The former spectator stands or ‘bleachers’ are overgrown and rotting.
Diamond Project Portacabin
In 2009 Police Community Support Officer, Andrew Scott, launched his Diamond Project on Pigeons Farm Road. The Diamond is portacabin style building situated on the former baseball diamond on Pigeons Farm Road.
In 2010 “The Diamond” Committee was relaunched with increased resident participation. The portacabin has recently been transformed as is now equipped with a brand new Pool table, Table Football, Large screen TV, Xbox 360 Kinect, new funky seating and furniture.