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Conservative councillor Ty Harris: 'South Oxhey Initiative could turn into another William Penn'
The South Oxhey Initiative could "turn into another William Penn" if the district council decides to press ahead with the scheme "at any cost", according to opposition.
Conservative councillor, Ty Harris’s comments come just days after it was announced that Three Rivers District Council is reviewing the South Oxhey Initiative, as the second housing association in a year pulls out of the scheme.
Councillor Harris said: "I agree with the South Oxhey Initiative but it is a major setback for the council, despite Ann Shaw trying to portray it as just a minor setback. It’s obviously not.
"It’s a big concern if the council decides to push ahead with the scheme at any cost. We don’t want it to turn into another William Penn."
It was announced last week that London-based Catalyst had pulled out of the project, which looks to bring 450 new homes to the estate.
Three Rivers’ main social housing provider, Thrive, was the first to pull out of the scheme last year.
Councillor Harris said: "The fact that we’re going into the third round of tenders and going to have to start from scratch again could be really damaging. We’ve had to go back to the drawing board. It's becoming a worry that it's going to get to the stage of doing a development for a development’s sake."
A review has been launched by the council into the initiative, following discussions with developers over the initiative, and after taking advice from Deloitte Real Estate. Preliminary work will go ahead.
The council is considering making a planning application for the development at the beginning of 2014 while it goes through a new process of appointing a development partner.
The council’s head of major projects, Alan Head, said: "The review will provide residents, tenants and users of the facilities in the central precinct area, greater certainty of the development timescale and clarity on the actual impact the proposals will have on them.
"We believe we can do better for South Oxhey than the deal that was being offered by Catalyst.
"The precinct is really the heart of South Oxhey and the new facilities will have to last for 60 years or more. It is much better to spend time now in carefully appointing the right developer and having a better precinct that provides better quality services and value for money for local tax payers in the long term.
"We expect an outline planning application for the precinct to be made in early 2014 which will include consultation with residents. A development partner will be appointed later in 2014."
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