CRAVEN is currently experiencing something of a mini-housing boom, and not everyone is happy about it. Proposed developments of 20 or more are rarely given an enthusiastic welcome by nearby residents, while a recent survey by the Liberal Democrats revealed housebuilding as a major concern, with people worried about the impact on schools, and doctors surgeries and all the disruption to nearby residents of building work.

Craven District Council - under pressure from central government - has, however, set a target of approving more than 5,000 new homes between 2012 and 2032, or around 256 per year. And it has even made a tentative step into the development business itself, with plans to build around 50 homes between now and 2020.

A pilot scheme to build three houses on the site of semi-derelict garages in Glusburn was approved last year. It is a big turnaround since the years following the end of the Second World War, when Clement Atlee's Labour government built around a million new homes, and the vast majority by local councils. One of Craven's forerunner, before local government reorganisation, Skipton Rural Council, built hundreds of houses, and in July, 1966 marked the completion of its 1,000th post war new home.

At the time, council tenants paid around 32 shillings a week for a two-bedroom property. A three-bedroom detached house in Farnhill with new Aga and two reception rooms was priced at just under £6,000, while a terraced home in Earby could be bought for just £600. The cost of renting a new 19-inch television was eight shillings a week and a day trip to Ripon Races was seven shillings and six pence.

In 1966, the Craven Herald reported on a "proud landmark" in the council's housing progress. A small crowd of council officials, contractors and residents gathered outside in Lang Kirk Close, Farnhill, for speeches. There was then a tour of recently completed houses, flats and bungalows in South Craven before the party returned to Farnhill Institute for refreshments.

The 1,000th completed house, 14 Lang Kirk Close, was one of a group of 14 in the Starkey Lane development. They consisted of four two-bedroom houses, two three-bed and eight, one-bed bungalows and had been built by WE Hartley and Son of Carleton. The ceremony was appropriately carried out by the new chairman of the council, Farnhill member, Cllr W Dawson.

Also present were the chairman of housing, Cllr RT Swales, councillors, officials, "wives" and members of the press.

Cllr Dawson, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Dawson, said he was proud to officiate and that it was also a proud evening for the council and its policy of housebuilding. He said he had been given two jobs to do by Farnhill Parish Council when he had been appointed to the rural council ten years earlier - to turn the private water supply into a public enterprise and to get houses for Farnhill.

The water had been fairly easy, but the council houses had taken almost ten years. Some people thought their council houses were expensive to rent, but Cllr Dawson pointed out that the average rent for a two-bedroom house was only 32 shillings per week (about £33 in today's money). The houses had cost £3,300 each and the money had been provided at loans at approximately six per cent over 60 years. It said much for the quality of the pre-war, as well as the post-war, houses owned by the council, that one was able to offset the other, to some extent, in the financial sense.

He thought the council very fortunate to offer such high-quality houses at the rents they were charging. Cllr Swales, in charge of housing, was very complimentary of the council's housing stock and described Starkey Lane as a lovely housing site. He thought in general the council's housing sites were very attractive and situated in delightful country. He was also pleased to note how economically the site had been developed with not an inch of ground wasted.

In all, the council had 22 housing sites, some with just two houses, while others had up to 100. He doubted that more lovely sites could be found anywhere in the country, considering they stretched from Grassington in the north to Steeton in the south. He went on to say the council had a "very good class of tenant" who cared for their homes. There were always difficult tenants but there were few in Craven. He said repairs could not always be done straight away and added if tenants paid their rent and kept their gardens tidy, they had nothing to fear from the rural council.

The party then carried out a tour of houses, including bungalows, which had proved to be very popular with a longer waiting list than for two and three bedroom properties. Visits were paid to Park Avenue, Sutton, where 88 dwellings had been built, including 12 one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats, 16 two-bedroom houses and 48 bungalows. At Low Fold, Sutton, a tour was made of the site of 40 bungalows and 20 flatlets with warden's and common room facilities. At Boundary Avenue, Sutton, eight houses had recently been completed and were two-bedroom with underfloor heating and gas water heaters. At the Beanlands estate, Glusburn, there were 135 homes, including 30 one-bedroom bungalows, 28 one-bedroom flats, 44 two-bedroom houses, 32 three-bedroom houses, one three-bedroom wardens house and a common room.

Special attention was paid to the common room where a Beanlands 'dominoes drive' was taking place. Warden Agnes Gill answered questions about the popular community centre and explained the system of telecommunication between her house and the old people's bungalows.

Following the tour, the party returned to Farnhill Institute where the council's surveyors department had arranged an exhibition of plans, drawings and photographs of the various housing schemes.