A residents’ group has given its vital blessing to a proposal to give local people in the Fullers Slade estate in Milton Keynes a vote on regeneration.
Two councillor members of Milton Keynes Council’s Regeneration Cabinet Sub Committee have also endorsed the move to ballot residents in a vote to be held on November 29 and 30.
The recommendation will now go to the council’s ruling Cabinet who will also confirm which of up to four regeneration options residents will be asked to choose from. The next meeting of the Cabinet has been set for October 1.
The options range from no redevelopment to full redevelopment and those are due to be scrutinised at a meeting behind closed doors this week.
Without support from residents, the process would not be able to develop but the residents’ group has now thrown its support behind a ballot.
Sylvia Airs, who chairs the Fullers Slade Residents Steering Group (RSG) told yesterday’s (Thursday) meeting that they have spent the last two years engaging with residents to accurately represent their voices.
“The RSG are now satisfied that that residents will be ready for a ballot in November,” she said. “The onus is now on Milton Keynes Council to ensure that all the essential information that residents require is made available at least four weeks prior to ballot date to enable time for consultation.
“There must be no further delays. We are aware that not everybody is happy for the ballot to take place, however, most of the residents we have spoken to have said they don’t have to wait any longer. They want to know the future plan for their homes.”
She said the whole process has been “fraught with setbacks and challenges” and the RSG has spent two years listening to “anger, concern and views”.
“In short, we have listened. It’s now time to move to the next step of the process.
“We are under no illusions. We know that whatever the outcome of the ballot there will be some disappointed residents and we will remain mindful of this at all times and want to reach out to them and offer support.
“The ballot is not the end of our work, it is just the end of the first chapter. We will remain committed to residents.”
Thursday’s two-and-a-quarter hour meeting also heard from passionate opponents of the entire project, including their fears of traffic congestion, increases in rents, and of council manipulation of the process to get the result they want.
But the move to go to a ballot has support from the opposition Conservative group on the council. No Lib Dem councillors were present at the meeting.
Cllr Allan Rankine, (Cons, Bletchley Park), said: “I think it’s important to move on with regeneration and not delay the ballot. I think the council does have enough information for residents to make informed decisions.
“The problem lies in getting that information from the council to residents. I do support moving to a ballot as soon as possible.”