The Nightingales Estate was built in 1972 and was originally named Greenham Court Estate. It was designed using a ‘Radburn’ layout, which followed the then current thinking about separation of cars and pedestrians. Unfortunately this has led to, among other things, disused car parking areas, as car owners prefer to park their vehicles within sight of their homes. The network of paths and alleyways crisscrossing the estate now provide hiding places and escape routes for perpetrators of criminal or anti-social behaviour, which in turn increases fear of crime amongst local residents.
The public realm area has become run down, including the green spaces and planted areas. Litter, abandoned shopping trolleys, dog fouling and household dumping contribute to the general untidiness of the estate. The name of the area has become stigmatized and is regarded in Newbury as an area of high crime and deprivation. This stigma only adds to the sense of social isolation, disconnectedness and low esteem in the community.
In general the homes in the area are well liked, as they are a reasonable size and in good condition. The geographic location is also desirable because of the proximity to Newbury town centre. Some homes have gardens on steep gradients, which are difficult to maintain and many of the low level fences provide inadequate boundaries between public and private spaces and trap litter.
The Nightingales can be examined in terms of deprivation using the ‘Super Output Areas’ (SOA’s) issued by the Office of National Statistics. According to the results, the estate has the worst health, income (especially affecting children), employment, and education skills levels for the whole of West Berkshire. Crime levels are also high (7th in the county).
Community Youth Project began our work at The Nightingales in 2009. Read more about our work and our story.