The South Oxhey Initiative will make more money for Three Rivers District Council if it drops the number of affordable and social homes in the scheme, according to experts. 

Politicians are moving ahead with plans for the mass regeneration project, which will transform the centre of the estate, despite there being no developer on board.

To entice developers to the scheme Three Rivers will be inviting companies to bid for the project through two stages over the course of three months.

However consultants Deloitte said if the council keeps its target to make nearly half of the 450 proposed new homes affordable it will impact the financial offer Three Rivers will get from developers.

Latest proposals for the regeneration project which will transform the estate were discussed at Monday’s extraordinary policy and resources committee meeting.

Watford Observer:

Aerial photograph of area due to be regenerated by South Oxhey Initiative

In papers submitted to the council, Deloitte stated that: "Delivery of all of (the council’s) aspirations will be very challenging in pure market terms. For example, the level of affordable housing sought is likely significantly impact upon the financial offer which developers are able to make to the council.

"Furthermore, it is impossible to guarantee at this stage what the final financial cost of the scheme will be to the council."

Three Rivers’ aspirations were also outlined in the document and included their desire to minimise costs to the council, create a high quality development, which includes at least 425 residential units and new retail and leisure space to complement the residential units. 

Furthermore, the 96 social rented units, which are currently located within the proposed site boundary, will also need to be maintained. 

However, Stephen Cox, Three Rivers Labour leader, warned committee members that the number of social rented units included in the scheme had already reduced from 98 to 96 after two Thrive Homes tenants bought their properties. 

The South Oxhey representative said: "They (the homes) have disappeared from the number of socially rented units. My question remains, if some more get sold, are we then going to go down to 94, 90, where are we going to stop? Is there any ambition to get this up to 98 again which is where we started some years ago?"

Alan Head, leader of the council’s Major Projects, assured Councillor Cox there will not be any more social homes bought within the area of the scheme, adding that the council had made a "commitment" to replace the socially rented units on the estate.

Prospective developers will be able to negotiate bids with the council, which is considered to be a more flexible option that will allow collaboration between the two.

In order to select a developer, a proportion of weight will be given to the three areas of the scheme.

These include quality and deliverability, the affordable housing provision and the financial offer put forward by developers.

The council will have to assess each developer’s offer in regards to how much consideration has been placed on these categories.