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£100m revamp of Townhill Park 'will go ahead' says Southampton City Council
IT is the £100m regeneration project that residents of a Southampton estate feared would never get off the ground.
But now, after months of anxious waiting, housing chiefs have promised residents that they will “follow through” on the huge investment – and they hope to have the first new homes in place within three years.
As revealed by the Daily Echo in March, Southampton City Council aimed to invest around £100m in the estate, to rejuvenate Meggeson Avenue and the surrounding streets.
The ambitious blueprint outlined plans to demolish 428 homes to make way for 675 new flats and houses, more than half of which would be “affordable homes”.
Further new properties would be built on Frogs Copse, to create a “central park,” while a new parade of shops, a pub or cafe and an adventure playground for teenagers were also earmarked.
The council’s new housing boss, Councillor Warwick Payne, has moved to quash fears that the scheme would be scaled back, ahead of the public release of a new masterplan for the area on Monday.
Cllr Payne said: “Most of the changes that we were looking to make were seeing who the housing providers would be and seeing if we could increase the amount of affordable housing on offer.
“We just wanted to make sure we were getting the most bang for our buck, but we will follow through on the investment that was previously planned.
“There are a few changes that have been made and we will be speaking to residents about what they think of those next week, to see if they are happy.
“We hope that if all goes to plan then the first new homes should start to appear by 2015.”
The news has been welcomed by ward councillor and former housing boss Councillor Peter Baillie.
He said: “Without a doubt this is great news for the area and we are pleased that Labour is carrying on with the development.
“We are a touch concerned that they are going to be borrowing another £50m extra to pay for it, which wasn’t in our plans, but the scheme is very good for Townhill Park.
“There are one or two elements that will need to be discussed with residents, but overall we do welcome it and I think in the main the reaction from residents will be positive, too.”