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Housing association, Catalyst, pulls out of South Oxhey initiative
Ambitions to redevelop South Oxhey have received a blow after a housing association pulled out of the project.
London-based Catalyst had been involved in negotiation over the initiative to 450 new homes to the estate.
The housing association is the second to abandon the scheme after Three Rivers’ main provider, Thrive, quit last year.
Councillor Ann Shaw, the leader of Three Rivers District Council, described Catalyst’s exit was "an irritation" rather than a major blow to the scheme.
She said: "It is just means we have to review the way we are dealing with it. We are not going to abandon it.
"We had had long discussions with them (Catalyst). But I would much rather find they are not interested at the moment than further down the line. It is an irritation.
"There is so much decanting with residents and shopkeepers that we have never said this would be done at top speed. It needs to be done at a speed that accommodates that."
The South Oxhey Initiative was devised after 130 flats between Fairfield Avenue and Oxhey Drive, including some 98 currently let to Thrive tenants, have been identified by the council as being beyond repair and in need of replacing.
Under current plans, these flats would be demolished to make way for 450 new homes, a 30,000 sq ft supermarket and a new retail area.
Half the new flats will be market rate and the other half will be "affordable".
Thrive Homes had been the initial housing provider in negotiations over the project but its chief executive, Elspeth Mackenzie, left the South Oxhey initiative steering committee, in November.
At the time she cited the council not matching the price it wants for 98 Thrive homes on the site as her reason.
However the council offered a different reason saying she had stepped down from the committee to avoid a commercial conflict of interest.
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