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Southampton's Townhill Park estate to be transformed in £100m project
THEY were among the first homes built at Townhill Park, creating an “attractive estate” and offering residents a “comfortable, country look”.
“Contemporary” detached homes with “special character”
hit the market for £2,995, as Meggeson Avenue quickly became a highly sought after place to live.
Fast forward more than 50 years, the tale is very different.
Many of the estate’s flats are ageing and run-down, while just two shops remain of what was once a successful parade.
But now, another chapter in the history of the estate is about to begin.
Today, the Daily Echo can exclusively reveal that five blocks of flats in Townhill Park will be demolished to make way for up to 675 new homes and a new shopping parade.
And Southampton City Council chiefs have told the Daily Echo it is one of seven regeneration programmes planned across the city, with estates in Millbrook, Maybush, Weston, Northam, Thornhill and Holyrood also set to benefit from multi-million pound makeovers.
The £100m Townhill Park overhaul will feature a “central park” to create a focus for community life, alongside a “village green,” which would provide a venue for local events and celebrations in the centre of Meggeson Avenue.
Housing bosses want to bulldoze the ageing council flats and rundown shops, to transform the area into a “successful community”
where families will want to live in the future.
The ambitious regeneration project would see:
• 428 existing homes demolished, to make way for 675 new flats and houses, more than half of which will be “affordable homes”;
• A new “gateway” to Townhill Park created, by redeveloping the junction between Townhill Way and Meggeson Avenue;
• New homes built on Frogs Copse, to create a “central park”;
• The demolition and redevelopment of properties in Kingsdown Way, including a new street link to Midanbury;
• A new parade of shops, as well as a pub or café and an adventure playground suitable for young teenagers.
The announcement comes after planning permission was granted last year to build 31 new homes in Meggeson Avenue.
That formed part of a smaller £30m scheme to rejuvenate a trio of Southampton estates, including Exford Avenue, in Harefield and Laxton Close, in Sholing.
And the council said that the latest proposals have been largely backed by tenants in the area, but admitted there would be “short to medium-term disruption”
Nicky Beach, vice-chairman of the Townhill Park Community Association, said: “We’ve all seen what’s happened in Thornhill and I think it’s about time they did it here.
“The new community centre here has already made a big difference and this project will improve the environment generally and change the way people feel about where they live.
“There’s no doubt this is a positive thing for the area.
Everyone likes something new and it’s going to have a massive impact on Townhill Park.”
The ten-year project will be completed in three phases, to allow for many residents and tenants directly affected by the scheme to be rehoused within the local area.
Council chiefs say this would also allow people to see a “visible change” in the area, during the early stages of the regeneration.
The new properties would include around 380 affordable homes, including one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, houses with gardens and homes suitable for elderly people.
They would also be much greener, with very low running costs, good levels of insulation and high quality windows and doors.
Council bosses aim to begin the design work later this year, once the finances behind the scheme are agreed next month.
Demolition and building work is expected begin around June 2014.
The council’s housing boss, Cllr Peter Baillie, who is also ward councillor for the Townhill Park area, said: “This is the biggest development we have seen in the city since the ’60s I suspect and we hope to follow it up with another six more similar to it over the coming years.
“This isn’t just going to benefit people by giving them new housing. It’s going to give them better health, a better way of life and better employment prospects.”