A new development of council flats is being named Lydia Court – in honour of Lydia Simmons, 78, former Mayor of Slough and the first black lady Mayor in the country.
Lydia Court is a development of 11 new council homes, being built on the site of the old Eschle Court, Elliman Avenue.
The one, two and three bedroom apartments are being built for the council by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) ) a partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd which is driving regeneration across the town including in leisure, housing, community and school buildings.
Lydia Court also includes a ground floor three bedroom apartment built to wheelchair standards, with its own front door access, dedicated parking and garden area.
This specially designed property will be allocated to a family currently on the housing waiting list and housing officers are working with occupational therapists to ensure the needs of the family are met.
Lydia was the Mayor of Slough in the municipal year 1984/85 becoming the first ever black lady Mayor in the whole of the UK.
She was born in Montserrat in the Caribbean in 1938 and came to Slough in 1960, serving as a councillor from 1979 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2007. She was chair of the committee responsible for housing from 1985 to 1994, shadow commissioner for housing and commissioner for social exclusion and neighbourhood services.
She was also given an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2011.
She said: “It is so lovely people thought of me. I always loved working with housing and our tenants and it was a major part of my life and political career.
“Council housing is vital to the community in Slough and I am honoured this new council development is being named after me.”
Councillor Zaffar Ajaib, commissioner for housing and urban renewal said: “Lydia’s appointment as Mayor was a major step in a country which hadn’t seen a black lady Mayor before but, more than that, Lydia has a long history of service to Slough residents, particularly in the area of housing, and we wanted to honour her incredible service, loyalty and advocacy to the town.
“We promised we would be building more council homes for people on our housing waiting list and Lydia Court is part of that promise.”
David Freer from Slough Urban Renewal said: “We are delighted to be associated with Lydia Court.
“Works on site are progressing very well with the roof almost finished and internal works to the flats having started.”
Lydia Court is part of the council’s drive to provide more council homes for residents on the housing waiting list. Residents are expected to move in to Lydia Court this summer.