Residents challenge Cameron to visit estate ravaged by cuts

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Residents on a rundown Hull estate face nearly a year’s wait for a developer to be appointed to continue a housing programme ravaged by Government cuts.

Last month the Government announced it was giving £3.3m, half the money Hull Council had asked for, towards continuing work on the Ings estate in east Hull.

But the amount comes nowhere near the huge sums lost when the Government axed the original Gateway housing scheme.

Residents have been left stranded surrounded by boarded up housing, and living in fear of arson attacks, as well as suffering vandalism, burglaries and fly-tipping.

Hull Council is putting in £7.1m match-funding to restart the regeneration scheme, which stopped more than a year ago.

Consultation will begin with residents next year, but building work will not start until after a developer is appointed next November.

A council report says there is a “pressing” need for a specialist private sector delivery partner, particularly as the city tries to attract the supply chains which will service the proposed wind turbine factory.

This contrasts the fortunes of east Hull with regeneration schemes to the west of the city, which has had developer Keepmoat on board since 2003. They recently managed to raise £8m from the regional growth fund to keep the regeneration scheme going on there.

Trevor Branton, the vice chairman of Ings Residents Association said the council had “done them proud”, but added: “We have a shortfall of £2m just to get rid of the properties that are there.

“We are looking for some more funding to be honest. We have used our MPs and Karl Turner (the Hull East MP) has done his best; he has knocked on doors, but they have always been closed.

“I’d like David Cameron to come down and have a look at the devastation.

“We have asked Ministers to come and have a look but they don’t want to come, which tells you something.”

Mr Turner said: “East Hull desperately needs a lead developer.

“West Hull is already working with Keepmoat and as such was able to secure £8m from the Regional Growth Fund. Unfortunately because East Hull did not have a lead developer in place it missed out on this money. I am disappointed that the government has only allocated half of the amount that is required for to refurbish Ings Estate.

“That is why is now even more important that a lead developer is identified to help to source other streams of funding for housing in East Hull.

“I am working with Hull City Council to ensure that this happens as soon as possible.”

The council is entering a procurement process in the new near and is hoping to secure a lead developer by November 22.

Ward councillor Alan Gardiner said: “I’m pleased with the council’s massive commitment to this project. Things will be moving in the New Year.

“We are confident based on soft marketing testing that we can secure a developer.”

Chevin, the council’s registered provider partner, which has built all the new homes on the Ings so far, will be building another 56 next year as a result of new grants from the Homes and Communities Agency.

The report being discussed by councillors next Wednesday says Chevin “have found it difficult to achieve notable market sales in the absence of a lead developer specialising in the development and sale of private sector housing”.

It points out that housing is key to attracting chains which supply renewables industries to relocate to the city.

The report to a council scrutiny committee adds: “Indeed there is a risk that without a development partner with a vision for a quality housing neighbourhood offer, the impact of port regeneration successes would be limited as higher value activities in the supply chain may not locate in the city.”