Resident refuses to leave home as half of housing estate is to be demolished

The new Showfields Estate

PLANS for the demolition and rebuilding of half of a council estate have been approved, despite one resident refusing to move from her home.

The green light was given by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) for 110 units on the Showfields Estate to be demolished at a Council meeting on March 22.

A total of 146 new dwellings will be constructed, of which 101 will be affordable homes, including 60 new socially-rented units.

However, one resident says she will not be leaving her home, which has been planned for demolition, unless she is compensated with the equivalent of what she already has invested.

Writing to the Planning Committee in June 2022, Deborah Ann Tivey said: “I want to be very clear in saying that I will not move or sell my house unless Town and Country [Housing] offer me like for like.

“I have worked hard all my life, paid my mortgage off, and ensured that I have kept my property in good order. I am now being instructed that my family home for the last 40 years will be demolished. I feel as if am getting the short end of the deal here.

“The stress, aggravation, and sleepless nights that this has caused for me over the last 11 months I would not wish on anyone.

“I am approaching retirement age, I am looking forward to the things that later life has to offer, with the current world situation we find ourselves in, house prices rocketing.

“I have not worked all my life to now be in a position where I have to look at having a mortgage at this age and will not put myself in this position.”

In the planning meeting, councillors were told by the planning leaders: “The proposal would remove a series of 1970s social housing apartment housing blocks which are at the end of their useful life and can’t be satisfactorily modernised, and which are part of a flawed estate layout which causes issues with parking and antisocial behaviour.”

Town and Country Housing Chief Executive Bob Heapy also attended, telling members: “We are committed to improving living conditions on the estate, and have listened and responded to feedback from residents and council officers alike.

“We believe the application represents a sustainable and high-quality development, which Tunbridge Wells can be proud of.”

The demolition consists of various apartment blocks, mostly flats and a few houses, as part of the estates much needed ‘regeneration’ and the improvement of “structural and fire safety issues”.

In its place, 146 homes will be built consisting of a mixture of two- and three- bed houses and one-, two- and three- bed flats, of which almost 70 per cent will be affordable homes.

The development will also create new vehicle and pedestrian access, car parking, cycle parking, refuse storage, and landscaping.

A new cycle route will also be created, linking the east and west sides of the estate and includes a ‘safeguarded’ area of land for potential future expansion of the cycle route across the A26
Eridge Road.

The development will see no net loss of affordable housing and hopes to fill the gap in the local housing market, which has been growing over the last five years.

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