6 homes in the Hayes area of the London Borough of Hillingdon.
Registered Office: 8 Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8GT.
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BACKGROUND OF DAWLEY HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE (DAWLEY)
The first meeting of Dawley was held in Summer 1988, but its history dates back to the 1960s. A group of young, single people in outer West London came together through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and local Folk Clubs. By the mid 1960s they began to move beyond just protesting towards practical, co-operative solutions for some of their needs. The Freeman Syndicate was set up to run a range of activities. The Freeman Syndicate Fun Club was run by volunteers on every Friday evening until the early 70s in the White Hart pub in Southall. Folk, jazz, blues, poetry, comedy and drama were mixed with politics and planning new projects. A large van owned by the Syndicate was used for weekend trips and moving members between homes. Occasional concerts were promoted and, with help from Syndicate volunteers and funds, a West London magazine was produced. Many Syndicate members could not find decent affordable housing and several years of discussion led to the formation of Middlesex Housing Association (MHA) in 1969.
First attempt to house 54 people for only £10,000
The first MHA proposal, in 1969, was to lease the long-empty Railway Workers Hostel in Southall. This was to be converted into flats, a communal space, restaurant, laundry, shop and a crèche to house 54 people at a cost of £10,000. Voluntary, self-help building work was planned to make this possible without any Government subsidy. Unfortunately British Rail did not lease the building to MHA and it was left derelict for many years.
Filling up the empties
MHA members looked for other schemes and, from early 1972, set up several organisations which resulted in the first properties being obtained free of charge from Hounslow Council in early 1973. These were renovated entirely by voluntary labour and more properties were then located by volunteers carrying out empty property surveys in the Boroughs of Hounslow, Hillingdon and Ealing. Initial fundraising was aided by members saving £20 a month in loanstock issued by MHA.
Going for gold
The 1974 Housing Act made Government subsidy available so MHA began to set up permanent Housing Co-operatives for Green Dragon Lane in Brentford and Water Tower in Southall.
Road widening plans for Dawley Road, Hayes
The Greater London Council (GLC) planned a new replacement railway bridge and the widening of Dawley Road. This threatened the demolition of many properties including numbers 1-18 Orchard Cottages.
EMI plans to expand their factory site
The EMI Company owned all of the land to the rear of 1-18 Orchard Cottages. They bought the two end of terrace cottages, numbers 1 and 18, to secure their interest in expanding their factory site.
Temporary housing in Orchard Cottages
In the early 70s, empty property surveys by MHA members identified vacant houses at Orchard Cottages. Negotiations with the GLC, Hillingdon Council and EMI led to agreements for temporary use of some of the houses. These were renovated by self-help voluntary labour. EMI abandoned their expansion plans and MHA purchased No 1 and No 18 from the company. MHA set up Middlesex Housing Co-operative (MHC) in 1981 to carry on with temporary housing work. MHC became the owner of the two houses in June 1985. The construction of the new Hayes By-pass road by the GLC led them to abandon their original plans which had been threatened the demolition of Orchard Cottages.
Co-op Homes goes in to bat
MHA gave away its business to set up Co-op Homes in 1986. Co-op Homes continued to promote and administer co-ops, including setting up Dawley Housing Co-op to secure the future of Orchard Cottages.
Dawley takes first wicket
Dawley began meeting in July 1988 and was urgently seeking approval for Government subsidy by December 1988. The GLC had been abolished and the GLC properties were being sold. MHC arranged to borrow £450,000 from the Co-operative Bank to buy the GLC properties in advance of Dawley being approved for subsidy. Dawley acquired 6 houses after subsidy was approved and those were permanently renovated by the early 90s.
Dawley bowled out
Changes in subsidy rules made after 1988 required private finance as well as Government funding for future schemes. Only large Housing Associations were able to develop under these new rules. Co-op Homes worked with a large Housing Association, bought and re-developed the terrace from numbers 7-12 as new permanent housing for Co-op Homes.
MHC prepares for a new innings
MHC had bought all the houses in the terrace from 13-18 Orchard Cottages by 2007. Discussion with the new owners of the former EMI site proposed collaboration on future redevelopment. Hillingdon Council has not yet approved a plan for the land which could include hundreds of new flats. The houses from 13-18 Orchard Cottages are still in temporary use until planning and funding decisions make new co-operative development possible.