A new garden estate
The development of the estate was initiated in 1931, when in November of that year, George Ferguson, purchased 75 acres of mainly pasture land, from Mrs Arethusa Stay of Place Farm to build an estate with all modern amenities. Inquiries came in from far and wide to examine the types of houses on offer. The all electric garden estate fitted in with the current culture of huge improvements in living standards. There were indoor toilets, fitted electric fires, running water and generous gardens. The brochures waxed lyrical about the advantages of living in Patcham; even showing how very near the sea it was.
Plan for 1,300 houses
George Ferguson had recently completed the Crabtree Estate in Lancing, and this new project turned out to be a mirror image of his last work. The original plan was to build 1,300 houses along the valley called Eastwick Bottom. Over three hundred workmen were employed to build a wide variety of properties, and convert the old Drove Barn into a church seating four to five hundred people. The estate was also going to have a swimming pool, landscaped gardens with bridge and waterfall, and a church and school situated in Plainfields Avenue.
Not welcomed by old village
The end of the estate at the top of the valley was going to have a green and there were 6 separate green spaces allocated to enhance the lives of the residents. Some of those projects didn’t materialise, but the resulting development was still regarded as amazing. The new bungalows and houses were very popular, and bought by all sorts of people – young couples, families, and even well heeled ladies and gentlemen for a retirement home. However, some of the long term residents of the old village disapproved of the open fields being trashed in such a manner, and refused to go and see the new housing. The comment was that they would rather see oxen than people on that land.