Housing development named after WW1 battle

A new affordable homes development has been named in remembrance of soldiers from Stoke-on-Trent who lost their lives at the Battle of the Marne.

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society has 19 two-bed homes in a new rental development, named Marne Place.

The site in Abbey Lane, Bucknall, commemorates a landmark Allied victory in September 1914, in Marne, an area to the east of Paris.

The battle was won after five days of fighting and this forced the German Imperial Army to abandon its push on Paris and retreat north-west.

The Royal British Legion will visit the development with six personnel from the Group 2 Standard on Monday, Feb 9, at 11am to mark the completion and naming of the place.

Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor, Councillor Majid Khan, will also be attending the development to meet some of the residents.

Trevor Jones, chairman of Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society, said: “In the battle of Marne, 498 men from Fenton lost their lives and approx. 500 from Hanley, Shelton and surrounding areas also died.

“It is said that most of the men were factory workers who, after finishing a shift, walked into the army recruiting office, picked up their uniforms and were never seen again.

“With so many from this area killed in that battle, we feel it fitting to commemorate their lives, especially during the centenary of WWI.

“This will be a lasting legacy, recognising their sacrifice and ensuring their story lives on.”

The site was formerly home to a council residential home, Austin House, which was acquired by SOTHS in 2014 and granted planning permission.

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society (SOTHS) is also in the process of renting nine new-build properties recently completed in Bucknall Old Road in Hanley.

The development has seven two-bed houses and two three-bed houses.

Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society’s other stock includes two tower blocks at Park Vista, Hanley; Northwood and Imperial Courts in Hanley; Perrymount and Marchwood Courts in Penkhull; plus other properties in Etruria and Burslem.

The Aspire Group won a contract to manage the rent of Stoke-on-Trent Housing Society’s 500 homes in the city in 2010.