Milton Keynes estates regeneration ballot slammed as undemocratic

Serpentine Court
Serpentine Court

An action group of residents’ associations representing eight rundown MK estates this week attempted to halt a council  ballot on regeneration.

They slammed the whole process, as undemocratic, lacking in consultation and claim it is turning “neighbour against neighbour”.

Netherfield

Netherfield

The group is called RORE – Residents of Regeneration Estates – and represents 2,900 council-owned homes. All these homes are on the estates earmarked for the council’s £1b regeneration plan.

The first area to be regenerated – Serpentine Court on the Lakes Estate – is due to be the subject of a residents’ ballot next month.

The option favoured by the Residents’ Steering Group is to demolish the 1960s block to build new housing on nearby Warren Park.

But RORE claims the small steering groups are hand-picked by the council in a “secretive” process that fails to represent the views of wider communities.

RORE member and chair of the Lakes Estate Residents’ Association Jeanette Marling, said: “This is incredibly undemocratic. Less than 10 per cent of Lakes Estates residents live on Serpentine Court yet the ballot gives them the power to decide whether housing will be built on a cherished park which belongs to the entire community.”

Another member John Orr said: "The Council’s ham-fisted approach to regeneration has turned neighbour against neighbour. RoRE supports regeneration but all residents should have an equal say in drawing up regeneration options for their estate, not just a chosen few.”

On Tuesday RORE members attempted to call in the council’s decision to go ahead with the ballot. But they were defeated by the handful of councillors on the Housing Scrutiny committee, who insisted all residents had been consulted on the options.

The seven council estates earmarked for regeneration are Netherfield, Coffee Hall, Tinkers Bridge, North Bradville, Fullers Slade, the Lakes Estate and Beanhill.

A total of 8,500 homes – 20,000 people – will be affected. Currently they have no idea whether their homes will be demolished or what alternative housing options they will be given.

The work will cost £1b and take 15 years. It is likely the costs will be offset by developers building private housing on the estates and selling it of.