Private homeowners will be offered an above market rate for their properties under regeneration proposals being considered for a Milton Keynes estate.
Residents of Fullers Slade told a meeting that they were at their wits’ end, with key people on local groups considering resigning over the stress of not knowing what the future holds.
Fullers Slade is a few steps behind Serpentine Court, on Bletchley’s Lakes Estate, where residents voted in a ballot for demolition last year. A planning application for that work is due to come forward for the Lakes Estate later this year.
The council is planning to put options to residents for a ballot in Fullers Slade later this year. Work originally planned for five other estates has been put on hold, pending a review of the council’s future regeneration strategy.
Now, at Thursday’s Regeneration Cabinet Sub-Committee, a key council officer revealed that the council is working on offering private homeowners the market rate plus 10 per cent for their homes on Fullers Slade.
Michael Kelleher, MK Council’s housing and regeneration director, said: “It is a stressful time for homeowners and private tenants and also a stressful time for council tenants, but I think definitely for home owners.
“In terms of the offer that the council will make, we will ensure that all homeowners on the estate are given fair equity in their property.
“We will make sure that the offer to homeowners is market value, plus 10 per cent. The valuation of a property will be based on a good condition and not subject to blight as a part of the regeneration. So it will be full market value.”
Homeowners will then be able to buy newly built, and more valuable, replacement properties on the estate, and own them under a shared equity scheme.
“If we give you market value for your current property, plus 10 per cent, the value that you get will be transferred into the new property, and that value will be locked, so you will still own that value and it will be subject to property price increases.”
Mr Kelleher apologised for the slow process of the decision-making process, which he said was because the council had taken too much time to get the information together. “Now we can start moving forward apace,” he said.
The meeting approved a Residents Charter, which gives the council the opportunity to make progress. Mr Kelleher expects to be able to present more information to residents’ and council meetings in September.
The council is considering four options for the future of Fullers Slade, carrying out repairs only, to refurbishing and building some new homes, partial redevelopment, or full redevelopment.
All the options have currently been assessed as financially unviable at the moment by property experts Savills but there remains a lot of work to do and Mr Kelleher was confident that multi-million pound gaps could be closed with further work.
In the meantime, the meeting heard how the uncertainty is having a big effect of residents’ lives.
Sylvia Airs, who chairs the Fullers Slade Regeneration Steering Group, said she and her vice-chair had considered resigning because she felt let down by the council over a lack of information.
“We had been approaching burn-out,” she said. “We worked so hard and felt that we weren’t getting anywhere. We felt let down by the council.
“Now we are feeling a little bit more hopeful and we are staying put, so we can ensure that the whole process is resident-led. It is the only thing that is keeping us in place at the moment.”
Committee chair Cllr Nigel Long (Lab, Bletchley West), the council’s Cabinet member for housing, said the work of the residents group was “critical” in the process.