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Local housebuilder honours former councillors with new street names


Mar 2, 2019

Local housebuilder, Barratt Homes North East, has unveiled two new streets at its Jubilee Gardens development on Norton Road, Stockton-On-Tees, which have been named in honour of former local councillors. The Mayor and other councillors were invited to the development to officially open the streets, along with the family and friends of the recognised councillors.

Gibson Street, dedicated to Councillor Bob Gibson, was opened to mark the 34 years of work he served in local government. Gaining a seat in 1983 in the Newtown Ward for Labour, Councillor Gibson notably helped win a £37.5m City Challenge bid for Central Stockton. Throughout his time at Stockton Council, he played a key role in establishing Stockton Renaissance, which was a scheme put in place to help with the growth and development of the borough.

In addition to Gibson Street, the team at Jubilee Gardens also unveiled Smailes Close as a tribute to Stephen Smailes, former leader of the Conservative Group in Stockton. Stephen was first elected as councillor in the Hartburn ward in 1967 for Teesside County Borough Council. Over the four decades, he served on Cleveland County Council, Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council and the Association of North East Councils. Throughout the civic year of 1992/93 Councillor Smailes became Mayor of Stockton, where he supported the community he was most passionate about.

Neil Milburn, Development Director at Barratt Homes North East, said: “When we first began working on Jubilee Gardens we knew it was important that we held the values of the community within the development, and as such we were really pleased to host the councillors, Mayor and their families at the development for the opening ceremony. Both councillors have been greatly respected and had such a positive impact on the borough, so we felt that it was only right to mark their legacy here in Stockton-On-Tees with the two new streets.”

The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Eileen Johnson, said: “It’s fantastic to be here to help officially open two special roads in what is a brilliant new development that I am sure will provide happy homes and memories for those living here in the years to come.

“I’m really pleased that Barratt Homes has kindly agreed to the naming of Gibson Road and Smailes Close in recognition of two upstanding men who served their local community with such passion and dedication.

“Bob Gibson O.B.E gave 34 years of outstanding service to local government, with 17 of those as Leader of the Council, and he also achieved highly distinguished Freedom of the Borough status. Stephen Smailes was awarded posthumous Honorary Alderman status last year which acknowledged his own incredible service which spanned close to four decades.

“The two streets being unveiled together in their honour is especially fitting as both Bob and Stephen worked at the old Sarek Joinery company on the site while serving as councillors, and both became leaders of their respective political groups!”

By Katie