One farm boundary had been near the top of the rise just eastwards of Beechwood Avenue. Unless we had an old map to hand we would not have known; the land to the south of Hatfield Road from that point eastwards until reaching the industrial estate on the other side of Oaklands, belonged to Hill End Farm. Until around 1920 it was owned by the hospital authority of the same name, but being far from the hospital buildings it had no use for the fields sandwiched between Hatfield Road and the former branch railway.
|Detached homes along Hatfield Road between Oaklands and Butterwick industry.|
One difficulty was the depth of land between the road and railway, which was too long for a house and garden, leaving some awkward backland behind, which was not easy to access.
Although one or two attempts were made to fill in this backland before World War Two (the Willow estate and at Longacres), solving the backland issue began in earnest from the 1960s. This included developers purchasing the bottom ends of long gardens, such as at Pinewood Close and Gresford; or purchasing and then demolishing one or more pre-war homes to provide access to the land behind where new closes were erected.
|Oakdene Way still has an open end, laid before Longacres Park filled the backland gap.|
Today, there is no spare backland left between Ashley Road and Ryecroft Court, the latter marking the boundary between Hill End and Butterwick farms. You could say Hatfield Road east is full. But who would bet against a developer or two stepping forward in the next few years, purchasing a pair or two of original homes and bringing a small collection of new-builds to the south side of Hatfield Road. There will probably be no development on the north side so those new homes would be blessed with open views to the north.
A detailed investigation into the modern changes along Hatfield Road east can be found on the website. It is called Hatfield Road East. Navigate from the Topics link on the Welcome page.