A social landlord has said it will no longer pursue plans for the large-scale regeneration of a housing estate in Bath.
Housing association Curo had been granted outline planning permission by Bath and North East Somerset Council for the redevelopment of the Foxhill estate in July 2017. Up to 542 homes were set to be demolished, but the scheme would see the construction of 700 dwellings.
However, the Foxhill Residents’ Association launched a judicial review challenge of the council’s decision before Christmas.
In a letter sent to residents in Foxhill last week, Curo chief executive Victor da Cunha confirmed that it had decided “reluctantly” to change its approach to the estate.
He said: “We will no longer consider demolition of homes on the Foxhill estate, either privately owned or belonging to Curo. Instead, we will work in partnership with local residents to create a new plan focussed on significant investment in the refurbishment of existing Curo-owned homes over the next few years. This will help give certainty to residents and deliver improvements to homes in Foxhill more quickly.”
Curo bought the Ministry of Defence land at Foxhill in 2013, but da Cunha said many things had changed since then.
He accepted that there was some opposition to the demolition of homes and to the loss of social housing “that redevelopment would inevitably entail”. He added that Curo had received varying levels of political support and also no clear decision about grant funding from central government.
“Residents have told us that they no longer want to live with the uncertainty of what may happen to their home in the future,” da Cunha continued.
“The recent legal action by a group of residents may result in further delays and uncertainty for 12 months or more. Even if this legal action is unsuccessful, this would not promote the necessary consensus to deliver a truly community-owned, successful project.
“We have listened to the requests for clarity and we have acted. I realise that this may be disappointing news for many of you, and I am also deeply disappointed. However, we remain committed to providing great homes, supporting communities and improving lives for our tenants in Foxhill and in all the communities we serve.”