A tale of two cities

Congratulations to Howard Cottage in Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City Housing Association who have merged to create First Garden Cities Homes. John Welch, Chief Executive, tells us about the merger and plans for the future.  

In 1898, Ebenezer Howard wrote Garden Cities of To-morrow, which set out his vision of a revolutionary town where industrial, commercial, residential and recreational areas would be separate and carefully balanced, surrounded by a green belt.

Howard Cottage Society, one of the UK’s first housing associations, was established in 1911 to realise Ebenezer’s utopian vision, enabling Letchworth to become the world’s first garden city. It created decent, affordable homes for the workers who had migrated from the city slums to take up employment in Letchworth.

Ebenezer replicated this innovative model with the creation of Welwyn Garden City in 1920, since when his garden city ideals have influenced town planning around the world. He was knighted in 1927.

Fast forward to today and the two organisations with the closest ties to the garden city movement – Howard Cottage and Welwyn Garden City Housing Associations – have joined together as First Garden Cities Homes.

The combined organisation has a portfolio of over 2,000 properties within Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire, including homes for affordable rent and shared ownership, as well as sheltered, supported and flexicare housing.

Meeting identified housing need will remain high on the Board’s agenda and we will use our increased financial strength to help fuel growth by developing good-quality, affordable homes.

We’re off to a very good start. This summer we will complete a stunning new development of 71 stylish, two-bedroom apartments at John Coxall Court in Letchworth Garden City for people who are 55 years and over. Our website provides full details of how to register an interest.

The origins of First Garden Cities Homes stretch back more than a century. Then and now, we aim to reflect the values of Sir Ebenezer Howard by putting the interests of our residents at the heart of everything we do. We’re very excited about the future.

To find out more visit their website

John Welch is Chief Executive of First Garden Cities Homes

First Garden Cities Homes merger