“Stomach-churning” living conditions found at doomed part of Milton Keynes
A councillor says “almost vomit-inducing” living conditions were found during a visit to a run-down block of council flats that residents themselves have voted to demolish.
Plans for the replacement of Serpentine Court, in Bletchley’s Lakes Estate, are not now expected to be lodged until the new year and a Milton Keynes Council meeting heard that the lack of news on the future is causing local unrest.
“Corridors smelled of urine,” said Cllr Allan Rankine (Cons, Bletchley Park) at the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday (Oct 30). He had been on a site visit to the area.
“We had to navigate our way around puddles of urine. It was almost vomit-inducing. That building needs to come down but we need to be careful. We still have to do the basic maintenance for public safety.”
Cllr Rankine outlined concerns with pests, condensation, “cockroaches feeding on silverfish,” and rubbish.
However he added that a surgery on the estate with the council’s contractor, Mears, was well used by residents to sort out their problems. “It is a fantastic idea that should be replicated in other areas,” he said.
Almost one year ago, 93 per cent of residents who voted in a regeneration ballot wanted Serpentine Court to be condemned to rubble.A planning application for a replacement for Serpentine Court, as well as other “improvements” on the wider Lakes Estate, is yet to be submitted. And the meeting was told that residents’ representatives are being accused of hiding the facts from their neighbours.
Jeanette Marling, who chairs the Lakes Estate Residents Association, said local residents are constantly asking about the planning application, and “we are constantly having to say we don’t know.
“They find it hard to believe that we aren’t kept up to date. It’s getting quite difficult and they accuse us of not being up front with them. We have not been included in any visits by officers or councillors, and we are not allowed to attend some meetings.
“When is this involvement going to happen? It is creating a lot of bad feeling towards people in Serpentine Court who are seen as the only ones benefiting from regeneration, at the expense of others on the Lakes.”
Cllr Terry Baines (Cons, Campbell Park & Old Woughton) said the council had to learn to include more residents in the process.
Michael Kelleher, the council’s director of housing and regeneration, said that the focus up to the ballot had been on Serpentine Court. But, since the ballot, he said that “it is clear that it should be a discussion with the whole of the Lakes Estate.
“My understanding is that everyone should be consulted.” He added that he would “make sure that happens.”
After the meeting a spokesman for MK Council said that the “planned maintenance programme will continue in Serpentine Court.”
He added that a planning application for Serpentine Court and the Lakes Estate was due to be submitted “early next year.”