By Sue Miller

Brookside, built in 1992/93 on Manor Farm land adjacent to the farmyard, was a controversial development that caused deep, though thankfully temporary, divisions in our community.  Farmer Alan Miller’s planning application for an estate of affordable homes was intended to meet the needs of young people who had grown up in Orwell and wanted to stay here to raise their own families, but other residents – particularly those who had settled here to enjoy a quiet country life – were opposed to the scale of the proposed development. 

Over 100 people attended a public meeting in June 1987 to voice their opinions for and against  the planning application, and feelings ran high – very high . Sensing a dramatic social conflagration the BBC unfortunately stepped in and fanned the flames with a programme that highlighted the most extreme views on both sides of the argument, and Orwell took months, if not years, to recover.

Photo:The first Brookside residents, including Colin & Sacha Ellison with baby Alice

The first Brookside residents, including Colin & Sacha Ellison with baby Alice

Cambridge News

Brookside was completed in 1993, but controversy lingered on as there were some objections to its name, associated in many people’s minds with a certain TV soap opera of the time.

Happily, all that is now in the distant past, nearly twenty years ago.  Brookside did indeed provide homes for young families and enabled the children of several Orwell families to stay in the community in which they had grown up. And Orwell benefitted too, as Brooksiders have contributed to life here in so many ways.

This page was added by Sue Miller on 19/01/2013.

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