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Demolition of Milton Keynes housing estates 'will not happen'

Bradville and Serpentine Court Image copyright YourMK
Image caption Serpentine Court (right) is still due to be demolished, but that is not the case for North Bradville (left)

Plans to demolish six estates as part of a £1bn housing makeover could be abandoned.

Labour-run Milton Keynes Council said "the wholesale demolition will not happen" and it wants to "improve" some estates in the town instead.

Plans to demolish and rebuild parts of Serpentine Court, on the Lakes estate, will go ahead, it said.

Alex Walker, Conservative group leader, said Labour had "abandoned regeneration" and should be "ashamed."

Image copyright YourMK
Image caption Milton Keynes was designated a new town in 1967 and some of its housing estates were "looking tired" according to the council

In April 2017, it was announced that seven estates, deemed in urgent need of repair, could be demolished.

They were Netherfield, Coffee Hall, Tinkers Bridge, North Bradville, Fullers Slade, the Lakes and Beanhill.

The work was set to take more than 15 years, affecting 20,000 people in 8,500 homes.

It was to be carried out by YourMK - a partnership between Milton Keynes Council and Mears Group - but, as of last October, the regeneration was just being delivered by the council.

Image caption Residents have voted to demolish flats like this at Serpentine Court

In November, 93% of 206 residents of Serpentine Court on the Lakes estate, voted for their homes to be razed.

The council has confirmed those plans will go ahead.

Nigel Long, the cabinet member for housing and regeneration (Labour) said they will consult with residents "on a new way forward" and "wholesale demolition is not an option".

Changes will be made but they will be more "gradual" and the emphasis will be on "improving existing stock and small-scale rebuilding and remodelling" if approved by residents as part of the masterplan, he added.

"Yes, we will improve estates, build new houses and be spending £165m on improving our housing stock," he said.

Image copyright YourMK
Image caption Serpentine Court as it looked in 1975

Mr Walker said: "Labour have abandoned regeneration. They should be ashamed.

"The regeneration project could have worked, it can work."

Mr Long said this was not the case and the council is looking at a "renewal of MK" and it is "broadening" regeneration and not "narrowing it".

The council said the final decision will be taken by its cabinet in December.

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