Local historian remembered as new development opens in Little Stoke

A crowd gathered around the road sign for Sharon Ubnak Close at the official opening.

A new housing development named after a local historian has been officially opened in Little Stoke.

Housing association Bromford has completed work to its regeneration scheme in Collins Avenue, which has seen ten old properties demolished and replaced with 15 modern, energy-efficient homes. Delivered in partnership with United Living, the project, which began last year, has now been shortlisted for a prestigious Inside Housing development award.

Sharon Ubank.

The new road has been named Sharon Ubank Close, after the local historian, who died last year. Sharon was the editor of The Stokes Standard booklets for many years which covered topics on local history, flora and fauna. An active member of Christ the King church in Bradley Stoke, Sharon would visit local schools to take part in assemblies and loved reading stories to the children. She also wrote books about the history of the local area and had finished her final book, ‘Saxonpath’, just before she died in July 2018. It was published online by her family to coincide with the opening of the road.

Many of Sharon’s family and close friends joined staff from Bromford, United Living, South Gloucestershire Council and local residents to celebrate the official opening of the road on Friday 27th September.

Speaking at the opening of the road, her brother, Andy Stafford, said:

“We are so honoured to have the road named after Sharon; it’s quite hard to put into words what this means for us. To see something like having Sharon’s name on a street sign, it’s quite amazing to see her remembered in this way. She did an awful lot for the local community, especially anything to do with the environment.”

“It’s very unusual to have the full name on a street, but it means people can look her up and find out about her. I think she would be pleased to have a road named after her but may have wondered what all the fuss was about.”

Bromford project manager Alice Phillips said:

“We’re delighted to have completed this project ahead of schedule. We’d like to thank all of the neighbours for their patience and understanding while we’ve carried out the work. There is a real need for more affordable housing across South Gloucestershire and these new homes will help local people to stay living in the area rather than being forced to move elsewhere. And it was lovely to welcome members of Sharon’s family to the opening, along with our development partners and new residents, who I’m sure will be very happy in their new homes.”

United Living’s site manager Jason Ivens added:

“I am very proud of the exceptional new affordable homes that have been created in Collins Avenue. United Living aim to leave a legacy in whichever community they work in, and it is hoped that through the employment, skills and training provided through this project that this will be felt for generations to come.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet member for planning, transport and the strategic environment, Cllr Steve Reade, said:

“It is fantastic to see this impressive development officially open and the new residents move in.”

“Regenerating old housing sites with well-designed and sustainable new developments such as this helps enhance neighbourhoods as well as delivering much needed affordable housing for the area.”

“We are committed to increasing the amount of affordable housing right across South Gloucestershire and working with partners like Bromford is proving to be a great way to deliver the homes people need across our region.”

The new homes in Sharon Ubank Close built by Bromford are a mixture of two and three bedroom houses and one and two bedroom flats, all for rent. They replaced ten non-traditional properties whose condition had deteriorated since they were built in the period following the Second World War as a quick solution to the housing shortage at the time.

The project was part-funded with a £392,000 grant from Homes England. Earlier this year, Bromford was named as one of the Homes England’s strategic partners, receiving £66m to invest in new social rented, affordable rented and shared ownership homes over the years ahead.

The completion of the work is Bromford’s latest successful regeneration scheme, following previous projects in Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton. The housing association is now starting work on a new regeneration scheme in Filton.

Top photo: Residents and guests gather around the road sign for Sharon Ubank Close at the official opening on Friday 27th September 2019. [View hi-res version on Facebook; Google; Flickr]

Cover of the book 'Saxonpath' by Sharon Ubank.

The newly published ‘Saxonpath’ book (above) is available to download free of charge at www.saxonpath.com

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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