Elderly sisters Joyce and Enid Sly spend life savings on new Northleach neighbourhood
TWO generous sisters in Northleach have pooled their life savings together to build a new, affordable neighbourhood for local people who would otherwise be unable to afford to live in the town.
Joyce and Enid Sly formed the J W Sly and Sons Charitable Trust to provide affordable housing for the people of Northleach, with the help of a family friend.
The terrace of six affordable homes is being built on land at the rear of private house Wheelwrights and when completed will be available to rent to local residents.
The building plot is where the family firm J W Sly and Sons was originally based, first as a wheelwright, and later on as a builder and undertakers.
The trust is formed by Northleach residents and the entire £1million development has been solely financed through the two Sly sisters, who are descendants of John Sly.
“The trust is building high-quality, sustainable housing, which is affordable to local residents, and doing so in a way that respects and complements its historical setting,” said Tewkesbury-based architect Mungo Park.
“They want to demonstrate that low-cost housing does not need to be low quality.”
Joyce and Enid, both in their 90s, have worked in the Sly family business in the past, with Enid also teaching at the local primary school.
They said they recognised that Northleach was becoming increasingly expensive to live in so they wanted to help key, local people including nurses, teachers and firefighters to rent accommodation in the town.
“We were part of a family of four children and my sister and I are the last ones left. We never married or had children, so we thought what we would do something for the town and Northleach," said Enid Sly
“It’s lovely to see the building being done. We’ve got memories of the property and how we used to use it so it’s also sad in a way but nice because we’re doing something for the town too.
“On Wednesday when we went to put the stone in place there was such a happy atmosphere. Children from Northleach primary school, where I taught, were there too. It was a pleasure."
Cotswold District Council and trust member Chris Hancock said: “I think it’s magnificent that a family who have been here for several generations should leave such a legacy for the town.
“To provide six houses to rent for people who wouldn’t be able to rent normally is really supporting the local community.”
Cllr Hancock said the houses were designed to be homes for life.
“Internal alterations can be made, such as the development of an en-suite bathroom or making certain rooms wheelchair accessible,” he explained. “This wouldn’t normally be possible with normal renting.”
The terrace of homes will be called Sly’s Close when finished and is expected to be completed by May 2014.
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