South Oxhey residents fear regeneration scheme could price them out of estate, consultation reveals (From Watford Observer)
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South Oxhey residents fear regeneration scheme could price them out of estate, consultation reveals
South Oxhey residents are concerned they could be priced out of the estate if rents rise following a planned regeneration scheme.
Results of a consultation held over the South Oxhey Initiative showed people feared rents would be higher in the new homes, forcing existing residents out of the market.
Under the scheme existing buildings will be demolished to make way for 450 to 500 new homes during the first phase of the regeneration project.
The consultation feedback from more than 100 people also revealed residents were concerned about being relocated during the construction.
People also expressed fears the regeneration project could lead to local services becoming oversubscribed.
However the consultation showed that 63 percent were in favour of the initiative in general.
The consultation came after Three Rivers District Council was strongly criticised for not keep businesses informed about the project.
Yet at a meeting in on Monday a Labour councillor for the estate said the council was now failing to keep residents informed about progress on the delayed scheme.
Stephen Cox, leader of the district’s Labour group, said: "I think we have made great strides with the shopkeepers and keeping them informed and that is right because the shops are the lifeblood. But so too are the customers and I think that people are living there with tremendous uncertainty."
Some of the properties to be included in the project are owned by housing association, Thrive Homes, which pulled its support for the scheme last year, while other properties are owned by private leaseholders.
Councillor Cox, who represents South Oxhey, added: "I do know that we can’t set in stone a timetable but I do think that it is important to give them (the tenants) the most public information we can at every step of the way on the understanding that they will understand that life does change.
"But I think that at the moment, if I put my hand on my heart, I don’t think we are getting the communication quite right."
He added that this could be a "recipe for disaster".
South Oxhey Parade, which is part of the regeneration scheme.
Matthew Bedford, a Liberal Democrat representative, echoed Councillor Cox’s comments, adding: "While it’s all very well and good to say where we are in the procurement process and the rest of it, actually they (the tenants) don’t care.
"They just want to know how long they are going to be in their current homes for and what is going to happen to them when they can’t be in their current home."
Approximately half of the shops will be kept open while the north side of the precinct is developed, then the car park, before the final regeneration phase of the south precinct takes place.
The district council is intending to submit an outline planning application later this year in the hope that a developer will back the scheme after Thrive Homes and Catalyst Housing withdraw their support.