A divided community

PUBLISHED: 12:46 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

Stuart Concannon and his wife Clare would like to see their home redeveloped

Stuart Concannon and his wife Clare would like to see their home redeveloped

AN ESTATE is bitterly divided over whether homes should be knocked down or updated. Two groups with deeply opposing views have now split opinion on whether the old bungalows on the Campfield Way and Highover Road area of Letchworth GC should be demolished

AN ESTATE is bitterly divided over whether homes should be knocked down or updated.

Two groups with deeply opposing views have now split opinion on whether the old bungalows on the Campfield Way and Highover Road area of Letchworth GC should be demolished or refurbished to meet new Government guidelines.

North Herts Homes (NHH), owner of the estate's 59 homes, say they will not meet the Government's decent homes standard that is enforceable from 2010 and the only viable option is redevelopment.

Campfield and Highover Residents' Association has campaigned to try and overturn NHH's plans and is now attempting to get English Heritage to list the homes in an attempt to save them.

But the association now faces fierce opposition from the Campfield and Highover Pro-redevelopment Group formed on Friday.

The new group claims the views of the majority of people on the estate have not been reflected by the association and says it will support NHH and oppose any plans English Heritage has to list the homes.

Stuart Concannon, chairman of the redevelopment group, said: "The views of the association are not the views of the majority of people on the estate.

"A number of people came to us and said their views were being ignored. We will try and make sure the redevelopment of the homes goes ahead.

"Claims the homes are rare and of architectural interest do not stand up because there are other estates around the country that have similar bungalows with 280 of our style homes in Ellesmere Port alone. So the claim they are rare just does not stand up.

"At last the views and opinions of the majority of residents on the estate will be represented.

"Since the promises made in writing over the last few months by NHH, many residents have decided to support the redevelopment and the residents' association have not reflected this change in opinion."

Jean Fish, secretary of the association, said: "This was a close-knit community but there is an undercurrent of bad feeling.

"We have had two-and-a-half years of this and I hope when it is all over the community spirit will return. We will continue to try and save our homes."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "People are now fed up with the rows.

"The atmosphere here is dreadful and I can't wait to get out like most people and start a new life in a new home in a few years time."

Representatives from English Heritage will visit the estate and look at a number of the homes next Friday, October 6.

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