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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone
from . dot to … dots – with plenty of spaces
The urban landscape
A move in the opposite direction to the construction of tower blocks, though mainly benefiting middle and upper class areas, was made by Conservative MP and former minister Duncan Sandys, who introduced as a private member’s bill what became the Civic Amenities Act 1967. This allowed local authorities to create conservation areas, to preserve the appearance of attractive and historic neighbourhoods. By 1971 all but one London borough (Barking) had made use of this power. In any case, in the 1970s a weak British economy and a deeply divided society with widely divergent political ideas stimied ambitious town planning and wholesale street demolition. The Leyton Society, affiliated to the national Civic Trust, was founded in 1972 with the aim ‘to preserve the best and improve the rest’. Its secretary Lou Abbott was emotionally devastated by the demolition of houses on the Walthamstow side of Boundary Road 1. (In 1987 the Leyton Society became the Waltham Forest Civic Society, aiming to cover the whole borough including Chingford, Highams Park and Walthamstow.)
From the 1970s onwards most larger houses were subdivided into flats which were typically sold to ‘first time buyers’, young couples with little savings purchasing their first property.