Regeneration of Milton Keynes estates are 'long-term' projects, says council leader

    Serpentine Court, Lakes Estate

    Milton Keynes Council is planning multi-million-pound regenerations of local estates, something which the council leader says will take quite some time.

    The Council's regeneration strategy hopes to improve certain estates whilst building "healthy, safe and sustainable" communities.

    There are currently seven priority areas that are at the top of Milton Keynes Council's regeneration plans; these have been selected due to the high numbers of council-owned properties and their current condition.

    These areas are Beanhill, Coffee Hall, Fullers Slade, Lakes Estate, Netherfield, North Bradville, and Tinkers Bridge.

    In 2017, engagement work started for the regeneration of Fullers Slade and Serpentine Court in the Lakes Estate. 

    Fullers Slade will see 369 new homes be built, 20% of which will be afforable, as well as the refurbishment of all existing council homes with an option of improving private properties. There will also be an extended and enhanced Spider Park, and a hub for the community including shops and local facilities. 

    The Lakes Estate will see Serpentine Court be demolished and 589 new homes be built, a new local centre with new shops and a pharmacy, an improved and enhanced Warren Park, and an onsite energy centre, which is expected to help cut the carbon footprint by 50% per household.

    Residents have been actively involved in the process, working alongside the local council, and questions have been raised about when work will actually begin. 

    Those living at Serpentine Court voted overwhelmingly at the end of 2018 to demolish their homes, but more than two years later there is no sign of the bulldozers moving in.

    Last month, it was announced that politicians had clashed about the speed of the Lakes Estate regeneration project.

    However, in its plan, Milton Keynes Council states that the regeneration programmes will take 15 years to complete.

    The Council says that environmental improvement works in the Lakes Estate are expected to begin later this year. This will include improving some of the courtyards, play areas, and cycle paths. 

    Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, has added how these regenerations are "long-term" projects.

    He spoke to MKFM about this during a News Special broadcast on Wednesday (24/2).

    "We're currently doing the sums on the build costs and associated costs of other projects and [we are] looking to appoint contractors - things like that," Cllr Marland said.

    He continued: "One of the points I have learnt around regeneration is how much in a rush the council was to promise things, particularly how MK was in the past, it often sounded to residents like 'this will be done tomorrow' and it's not. These are long-term projects."

    Cllr Marland referenced how he had watched a documentary on the regeneration of a London-based estate that took 20 years. 

    "I think it's really difficult for the council leader, or whatever administration, to turn around to local communities and say 'this is a 20 year project' because people don't think along those time frames, particularly at the moment when everyone is waking up and worrying about what they are going to do today, let alone twenty years' time, but they are long-term projects.

    "Hopefully we will start to see, particularly the Lakes Estate, regenerated soon. We are going to be moving forward with the renewal forums on the other estates and [look to] kick start Fullers Slade in particular."

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