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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 12:40 GMT
'Sadly Broke' celebrates 20 years
Bradley Stoke
Contractors were at one point building a house a day
A town once nick-named Sadly Broke, because of its reputation as a soulless housing estate with homes in negative equity, has reached its 20th birthday.

The first houses in Bradley Stoke, north of Bristol, were built in 1987. It now has more than 8,000 homes, 25,000 residents and seven schools.

Former Bradley Stoke Mayor Julian Barge said the town was misunderstood by people who were not from the area.

He said the town council was working hard to establish community spirit.

"This is a young town which has a lot of young people and families.

"It takes time to develop a community spirit - it will not happen overnight," he said.

He said the schools had helped people get to know one another and said the town council was encouraging people to establish clubs and societies.

Tesco Bradley Stoke
Tesco will replace its current store with one twice the size

The town has been criticised for having no centre.

But under a controversial plan, Tesco is to bulldoze its current supermarket and replace it with one twice the size.

As part of the scheme, the firm will make 20 shop units available for high street chain stores.

The town council claims Bradley Stoke is the largest private housing development in Europe.

The Sadly Broke tag was introduced after the increase in interest rates in the 1990s forced many households into negative equity - mortgage holders owing more than their properties were worth.

Mr Barge said the label was unfair and that the town only reflected what was going on in the rest of the country at the time.

"People don't understand what is going on in Bradley Stoke as they don't have a reason to be here unless they need to. But it is a buzzing town," he said.


SEE ALSO
Green light for Tesco development
20 Dec 06 |  Bristol/Somerset

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