The first steps have been taken towards regenerating seven areas in Milton Keynes in a bid to end city poverty.
It was announced this morning that Milton Keynes Council has gone into business with Mears Group Plc to form a new regeneration partnership.
The collaboration will deliver repairs and maintenance services for 11,500 council homes and make moves to “reverse the decline” of neighbourhoods over a 15-year period.
As revealed by the Citizen in April, a multimillion pound facelift is on the horizon for Netherfield, Coffee Hall, Tinkers Bridge, North Bradville, Fullers Slade, the Lakes Estate and Beanhill.
The plans were met by protest at the cabinet meeting last night where it was agreed that a partnership should be formed between the Council and Mears.
Members of protest group Tinkers Bridge Residents’ Association say they have faced months of worry since the plans were revealed.
But the council believe the regeneration will help solve a vicious cycle of unemployment, low levels of income, and poor education, which led the seven estates to be ranked in the UK’s top 15 per cent of most deprived areas.
Councillor Hannah O’Neill, Cabinet Member responsible for Housing and Regeneration said: “This is a great opportunity for us to work in partnership with local communities and the private sector to make a real difference to people’s lives.
“We believe that the Partnership represents the best overall solution for achieving social, physical and economic regeneration across Milton Keynes for the benefit of all our citizens.”
The partnership claims it will work with communities to develop regeneration plans to “focus on delivering what matters to residents”.
Alan Long, Executive Director for Mears said: “Everyone at Mears is really looking forward to working with the people of Milton Keynes on this exciting opportunity.
“Our experience tells us that the best solutions are always found when we carefully listen to the community and act on what we learn.
“One of our key commitments is to maximise opportunities for local people, who will benefit from a variety of employment and training programmes, in both trades and support services, which will be created throughout the project.”