Milton Keynes Council has announced that their new estate renewal plans focus on improving life chances.
Improving health and wellbeing, increasing access to better jobs and skills, and creating safe and welcoming neighbourhoods all form part of the council’s revised Community-led Estate Renewal and Regeneration Strategy.
The new strategy, which is due to be formally agreed at a meeting on Tuesday 20 October, focuses on improving life chances in some MK estates where people are struggling economically. It also proposes a move away from full property demolition.
The new plan is about building stronger and healthier communities, and emphasises the importance of involving local people in shaping proposals and setting priorities from the outset. The strategy is centred on six key themes:
- Better homes – improve the quality of council homes, giving all tenants access to a property that is warm and safe
- Communities – work with local people to determine their needs and create a welcoming neighbourhood, which people are proud to live in
- Environmental and sustainability – build sustainably designed homes, helping MK reach its energy efficiency ambitions while also cutting energy costs for tenants
- Health and wellbeing – develop proposals which encourage healthy living environments
- Community safety – work with local partners to tackle crime and create safe and welcoming neighbourhoods
- Better jobs and skills – improve life chances by giving local people better access to jobs and training
MK Council will work with local people and organisations to establish new Estate Renewal Forums. Working alongside the council, the group will set the priorities that directly relate to their estate and create a plan about how this will be achieved. Over the coming months, MKC will be contacting local residents and organisations, including parish councils, Thames Valley Police and others to begin the process of establishing these new groups.
Last week, MK Council approved plans for its first major regeneration project in the Lakes Estate. Progress is also being made on proposals in Fullers Slade.
The Council is committed to delivering renewal on the five remaining areas previously identified: Beanhill, Bradville, Coffee Hall, Netherfield and Tinkers Bridge. Future areas for estate renewal will be decided based on a range of criteria, including the quality of council housing and economic data.
The Community-led Estate Renewal and Regeneration Strategy will play a key role in the delivery of the Council’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, intended to support local people and businesses to respond to the financial pressures presented by the pandemic. The Council has already funded a free training programme targeted at aspiring entrepreneurs from regeneration areas, which is scheduled to take place in November.
Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, Cllr Carole Baume said: “This new strategy is about empowering local people to be involved in shaping the future of their communities. We need to move on from the fear of wholesale demolition and work with our residents to deliver on what really matters to them, so they have the opportunities to fulfil their true potential.
“I look forward to working with council colleagues and partners in setting up Estate Renewal Forums over the coming months and listening to people’s thoughts about how we can deliver stronger, safer and healthier communities across our city.”