The council's decision to scrap Milton Keynes' multi-million pound regeneration scheme was “a refreshing outbreak of common sense”, said residents today.
RoRE, the umbrella group for residents’ associations of MK’s regeneration estates, welcomes the announcement that the council intends to re-focus regeneration on building stronger communities and improving the skills and life prospects of the most disadvantaged estates in MK.
“Regeneration is fundamentally about improving communities, not just housing,” said David Lee, spokesman for RoRE.
“Our Residents Associations have been working hard for many years to improve the lives of our communities. Regeneration has caused an unacceptable level of stress for many residents, not knowing if their homes would be demolished. It’s great news that this uncertainty has now been ended.”
Rebecca Kurth, Chair of RoRE, said: “It is a bold step for the Council to change direction,“They listened to residents - first disbanding Your:MK a year ago, and now abandoning their approach to property-led regeneration. It’s the right thing to do, but it takes political courage.”
Tim Skelton, Chair of MK Forum, the Civic Society of Milton Keynes, described the decision as “a refreshing outbreak of common sense”.
There remains the need for very large amounts of refurbishment work on council houses in Milton Keynes, the result of “decades of underinvestment”.
RoRE is thankful that the £165m was announced last year but say the improvement of communities will require investment from other council funds, as well.
They say areas of low cost housing attract people with limited income, sometimes due to poor health, often due to a lack of skills, so greater support services are needed in these areas.
“Successful engagement with residents is vital,'' said David Lee.
“The Hub, expected on Fullers Slade last month as a centre for resident engagement on that estate, has failed to arrive. This inevitably affects the ‘intensive engagement’ expected there over the summer prior to the promised autumn ballot.
"The Lakes Estate residents have concerns over the plans published this week which show no enhancement of community facilities. Better engagement by the council must occur on these estates.”
Mr Lee added: “There is clearly work to be done, and a long way to go, but this announcement is heading in the right direction.”