Facebook Pixel Code

Menu

Menu

Regeneration Q & As

 

 

Frequently asked questions

The regeneration of the Foxhill estate is a long-term, complex project. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the regeneration. More questions and answers will be added to this page.

What is regeneration?

Regeneration “can transform neighbourhoods by delivering well designed housing and public space, a better quality of life and new opportunities for residents”, according to the government’s Estate Regeneration National Strategy 2016.

Regeneration goes beyond making improvements to individual homes. It involves working together to address local housing needs, help people into work and improve public health and wellbeing.

Why regenerate Foxhill?

People living in Foxhill don’t benefit from the housing, health, employment and education opportunities that others in Bath enjoy. As a result, it is among the 11% most deprived areas in England (Department for Communities and Local Government data) and has declined since 2004.

Foxhill is a strong community but one that faces significant challenges. Few local amenities, poor connections and poor quality housing result in:

  • High levels of requests from tenants to move
  • Poor energy efficiency
  • Higher repair costs

These challenges cannot be addressed without significant investment and regeneration. Curo is committed to working with B&NES Council and local people to develop high quality homes, great open spaces and community facilities for the benefit of the existing and future residents.

How could regeneration address the social and economic challenges in Foxhill?

The regeneration of Foxhill, alongside the development of Mulberry Park, will create an integrated, inclusive and thriving community with new facilities and open spaces, improved connections and greater opportunities for local people.

We are working with residents, B&NES Council, and local statutory and voluntary organisations to develop community initiatives which benefit Foxhill residents and ensure that the development provides lasting benefits to the local community. These are outlined in the Social and Economic Plan for Mulberry Park & Foxhill, written by the Centre for Local and Economic Strategies (CLES).

Why do you want to demolish so many homes?

The outline planning application for the regeneration sets out the maximum extent of regeneration possible.

We want to work with residents to develop detailed plans for each area of the estate on a phase-by-phase basis. This could include proposals to demolish and rebuild some homes and also to retain some homes.

These detailed plans will be tested against the ambitions of the Charter to make sure that they deliver the maximum benefits for the local community.

Why can’t you just refurbish the existing homes?

Curo has considered whether a programme of refurbishment would deliver the same scale of benefit; whether, for example, installing new windows, kitchens central heating etc. or providing insulated over-cladding to existing blocks of flats would deliver real value for money or lasting, positive change; but we believe it would not.

Refurbishment is not a long term solution and would not meet the ambitions of the shared Foxhill Regeneration & Development Charter. It would pass the problem onto others to deal with in the future, while the benefit of new homes at Mulberry Park would go not to Foxhill residents but to people moving in from outside the area.

What’s more, the profits generated by the Mulberry Park development will not be available again in the future – that’s why this is a once-only opportunity to create real and long-term improvement in Foxhill.

We will look at all options for each phase of the regeneration. This could include retaining some existing homes, refurbishing some homes and making improvements to some areas of the estate alongside redevelopment.

Why can’t Curo build more affordable homes at Foxhill?

Curo’s purpose is to provide affordable homes in thriving communities where people choose to live. The lack of government funding for new affordable housing makes this challenging. So we are building homes for sale and using this income to pay for new affordable homes.

As a not-for-profit organisation, we do not pay out dividends to shareholders. We reinvest our profits to deliver our social mission.

The regeneration of Foxhill will be funded by the revenue from the sale of new homes at Mulberry Park. Based on current figures, we will be able to build 420 new affordable homes across Foxhill and Mulberry Park.

We would like to be able to build more, and will continue to work closely with partners including B&NES Council and the Homes and Communities Agency to find ways to fund more affordable housing.

Are you regenerating Foxhill for profit?

No. The regeneration of the Foxhill estate will require a substantial financial subsidy from Curo. However we believe this is the right use of funds, to provide a long term, sustainable future for Foxhill, addressing the area’s physical and social challenges and integrating Foxhill with Mulberry Park, Combe Down and the city of Bath for the benefit of current and future generations. That is why Curo bought the MOD site that is now Mulberry Park; to ensure that any new development did not ‘turn its back’ on the estate, but instead reached across the road to ensure that the scheme would bring benefits for the whole area.

We are a not-for-profit organisation, meaning that all the profits we generate are reinvested in building more affordable homes. In the absence of central government funding, this is the only way we can continue to provide much-needed affordable homes to meet the housing needs of local families.

Why are you building fewer social rent homes than you want to demolish at Foxhill?

Currently, there are 414 social rent homes in the regeneration area of 542 homes. Across Foxhill and Mulberry Park, Curo proposes 420 affordable homes. 75% of the 420 new homes will be for social rent and 25% will be for shared ownership.

There is therefore a projected total of 315 social rented homes across the whole area, which equates to a loss of 99 social rented homes and a gain of 105 shared ownership homes. These new homes would be higher quality and cheaper for tenants to heat and run.

We are committed to providing high quality, affordable homes to meet local housing need. There is limited central government funding for building new social rented homes. The level of social housing is the maximum Curo is able to provide according to the current financial projection. Each social rented home requires a subsidy of up to £200,000 and all of this comes directly from Curo, from profits generated by market sales.

Based on the work we have done with local residents we believe there will be more than enough social rented housing for all Foxhill tenants who wish to stay in the area.

Now that you’ve been granted planning permission, when will demolition start?

B&NES Council approved the outline planning application for the regeneration of Foxhill in July 2017. The outline planning application identifies the maximum number and types of new homes, and key design features e.g. building heights. It does not give Curo consent to start any development so you will not see any changes happening immediately.

We are currently waiting for central government to confirm whether the planning consent can be issued.

Curo will work with residents to develop detailed plans for each area of the estate on a phase-by-phase basis. This could include proposals to demolish and rebuild some homes and also to retain some homes. These detailed plans will be submitted to B&NES as a “Reserved Matters” planning application for each phase. Only after B&NES has granted “Reserved Matters” planning permission for a phase would any work start.

When will Foxhill residents have to move?

We are holding one-to-one consultations with residents in the first phases of the regeneration. A package of rehousing support is available to these home owners and tenants. Some owners and tenants have already chosen use this support to move. The first new social rent homes at Mulberry Park were advertised via Homesearch in July 2017 and tenants from Foxhill will be moving into these new homes in 2018.

Regeneration will take many years and we will continue to talk to affected residents so that they know the latest timescales and have information about the support available to them so that they can make informed decisions.

What rehousing support are you offering to tenants?

Curo is committed to supporting local residents and community cohesion, enabling residents to stay in the local area if they choose.

For tenants, we commit to:

  • Priority for new social rent homes at Mulberry Park and Foxhill
  • Rent guarantee for long-term tenants
  • £5,800 Home Loss payment
  • Disturbance payments to cover the costs of moving
  • Dedicated Curo staff to support residents
  • Independent Advisor service (tpas) available for residents

This support is set out in the leaflet Rehousing Offer to Curo tenants.

Which tenants are entitled to Curo’s Rehousing Offer?

The leaflet Rehousing Offer to Curo tenants outlines the support available to Curo tenants with one of the following tenancies:

  • Protected tenants i.e. tenants at the time of the transfer of properties from Bath & North East Somerset Council to Curo (formerly Somer Community Housing) in 1999
  • Assured tenants
  • Tenants on a fixed term tenancy of five or more years
  • Assured shorthold tenants living in a property of two or more bedrooms

If you are a tenant with one of the above tenancy agreements and your home is within one of the proposed regeneration phases we will formally contact you at least 18 months before you are required to move with further details of the offer to you and the support you are entitled to.

The ‘Rehousing Offer to Curo Tenants’ does not apply to Curo tenants living in a one bedroom flat on an assured shorthold tenancy or tenants who are paying a market rent for their home.

Why are different tenants entitled to different things?

Different Curo tenants, even those living next door to each other, may hold different sorts of tenancy agreements. These tenancies establish both your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and Curo’s rights and responsibilities as your landlord. This includes what you may be entitled to if we ask you to move home to enable the regeneration to go ahead.

If you are a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and are living in a one bedroom general needs property, we will give you at least 6 months’ notice of when you will be required to move. We will provide you with advice and support in finding a new home. As confirmed when you signed the tenancy agreement, we will not offer you alternative housing. You are still able to apply for alternative housing through Homesearch. Your priority will depend on your individual circumstances and the Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme.

If you are a tenant paying a market rent (as you would to a private landlord) you are not entitled to an offer of alternative housing or any financial support. You are still able to apply for rehousing through Homesearch. Your priority will depend on your individual circumstances and the Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme.

If you are unclear about what type of tenancy you hold or would like to discuss the rehousing offer in more detail, please contact James Lewis, Housing Options Enabler. It is difficult to give detailed advice in this sort of document so please if you have further questions please do contact us. You can also request that the Independent Advisor attends any meeting to provide you with support and advice.

What support will there be for tenants to find a new home, e.g. using Homesearch?

James Lewis, Curo’s Housing Options Enabler in Foxhill, is available to support anyone living on the Foxhill Estate who may need to move to enable the proposed regeneration to go ahead. This includes support with rehousing or moving issues, including using Homesearch. James is able to help you in joining Homesearch and bidding for properties you are interested in moving to. Internet access is available at our offices at Mulberry Park and James can be contacted on 0300 123 2460 or email james.lewis@curo-group.co.uk.

The Housing Team at B&NES Council can also provide advice and support.

Why do tenants have to use Homesearch?

In the B&NES area all social housing is allocated using a choice-based lettings system called Homesearch. Homesearch gives existing and new tenants the opportunity to choose a home that suits their housing need.

Curo and B&NES’s Homesearch team are available to help tenants with the system. Please contact James Lewis, Housing Options Enabler, for support (tel: 0300 123 2460 or email james.lewis@curo-group.co.uk).

New social rent homes at Mulberry Park and Foxhill that are advertised via Homesearch are prioritised for affected Foxhill tenants.

Would Home Loss payments affect any other benefits tenants may be claiming?

This should not affect the benefits you are claiming unless you have savings. If you think this may affect you, you should seek advice as this will be based on your individual circumstances. The independent resident advisor or Curo’s Housing Options Enabler, James Lewis will be able to support you.

What rehousing options are you offering to homeowners?

We’re committed to working with every tenant and home owner on a one-to-one basis to find a solution they’re happy with.

If owners would like to sell us their home and move elsewhere, we are offering to pay the market value of their home plus 10% (7% for investment owners) as well as all moving and legal costs.

For those who wish to stay in the area, we’re offering a lifetime interest-free equity loan to enable them to buy a brand new home in Mulberry Park or Foxhill at no additional cost to them. The only time that the equity would be repayable would be when the home was sold or transferred to someone else.

The leaflet ‘Rehousing Offer to Home Owners’ outlines the support that is available to homeowners in Foxhill. This includes:

  • Offer to buy existing home at market value, with an additional discretionary payment of 10% of the market value for resident owners and 7.5% for investment owners
  • Equity share in a new, higher value home at Mulberry Park or Foxhill at no additional cost. Unlike shared ownership, the owner pays no rent or interest on the share they do not own
  • Disturbance payments to cover the cost of moving
  • Dedicated Curo staff to support residents
  • Independent resident advice service
  • Phased approach to allow a single move

How would a surveyor establish a value for privately owned homes, considering factors such as the regeneration?

Curo have agreed a process for valuing homes in the proposed regeneration area with representatives of local residents groups. Any valuation would be carried out by independent, RICS qualified surveyors, working to a set of standard, professionally-recognised guidelines.

Any valuation would be based on a ‘no scheme world’, meaning what the property would be sold for on the open market if there were no redevelopment of Foxhill taking place. The valuer would consider factors including what similar properties in the same location sold for.

If a price is agreed for a privately-owned home now, it might be another 2 years before Curo actually needs to buy it. Will the price go up to reflect the market at the time of purchase?

We would work with a qualified surveyor to provide an updated valuation before the sale to make sure that the offer reflected market value or we would consider linking the value to house prices to provide certainty.

Your questions answered

If you have a question about the proposed regeneration of Foxhill, please contact:

Foxhill Project Team

Tel: 0300 123 2460

Email: foxhill@curo-group.co.uk

Or visit the team at the Mulberry Park Visitors Centre, Fox Hill, Bath BA2 5QN, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Curo Chief Executive Victor da Cunha answers questions from local residents on the proposed regeneration of Foxhill in a series of video Q & As.

Stay up-to-date with our newsletter