Compulsory purchase option kept on table as demolition of doomed tower blocks in Milton Keynes is confirmed

Compulsory purchase orders are being considered as an option of last resort after the council confirmed that two doomed tower blocks in Milton Keynes will be demolished.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Although the majority of people living in the 200 flats at Mellish Court and The Gables were council tenants, 32 of the properties were held by leaseholders either living there or renting out their flats.

The council revealed that 45 residents responded to an eight week consultation exercise on the future of the blocks. Some 36 of them (80 per cent) supported demolition.

The majority of feedback received was from council tenants (42) with two resident leaseholders and one private tenant responding.

Cllr Emily Darlington (Lab, Bletchley East) made five decisions at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), including beginning the compulsory purchase order process. It is due to be confirmed at a meeting on March 23.

But Cllr Darlington, the council’s cabinet member for public realm and housing services, was confident that the offers being made to leaseholders would be accepted and said the process is going well.

But to ensure that the blocks can be emptied by October and the £4.18 million demolition process can begin by the end of the year, compulsory process is being kept on the table.

The blocks in Bletchley and Wolverton were built in the 1960s and have failed to meet modern health and safety standards.

Cllr Emily Darlington

“This is something we need to do legally,” said Cllr Darlington.

“But my hope is that we will not need to be doing that because the process that the officers are undertaking right now with leaseholders is going very well and proceeding very well.

“But it is something that we do need to have in train.”

The council is working on offering leaseholders the chance to buy an equity share in other properties, and the full details of that will be made public in time for the meeting later this month.

It has also made offers to resident leaseholders to buy their flats back at full market value, with an additional payment of at least £6,100 for the loss of their homes and a disturbance payment to cover the costs of moving.

Non-resident leaseholders are being offered full market value for their current property plus a basic loss payment.

Private tenants of non-resident landlords are being offered help to find other places to rent.

Council tenants are being offered properties as they become available in the city and the authorities believe they can give everyone a home they need by the autumn.

Cllr Darlington’s decision has kick started the process towards the anticipated £60 million rebuilding of replacement public sector housing in the area.

Architects will be appointed to draw up schemes on the sites of Mellish Court and The Gables.

And Darlington said the development of the new housing schemes would involve residents, town councils and the wider community.