Multi-million pound redevelopment shelved

THE multi-million pound redevelopment of a shopping precinct has been put on ice due to the credit crunch. The consortium behind the regeneration of Ivel Court in Letchworth GC - North Herts Homes (NHH), The Howard Cottage Housing Association and develope

THE multi-million pound redevelopment of a shopping precinct has been put on ice due to the credit crunch.

The consortium behind the regeneration of Ivel Court in Letchworth GC - North Herts Homes (NHH), The Howard Cottage Housing Association and developer McCann Homes - obtained planning permission in May last year to provide new housing, shops and a community centre on the Jackmans estate.

Richard Harman, chairman of the Jackmans Improvement Group, said local people will be bitterly disappointed.

"This is terrible news for the community and a shame because it was a good project and local people were looking forward to seeing their estate regenerated," said Mr Harman, who works in the community centre that was earmarked to be replaced at a cost of �532,000.

"Ivel Court dates back to the 60s and the community centre is almost 40 years old and is slowly decaying.

"This was a chance to bring this area on the estate into the 21st Century. Shelving the plans is a big blow to the area.

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"Hopefully the project can be revived in three or four years' time."

The development by McCann Homes Ltd included building 59 homes - 13 two-bedroom affordable houses, 12 two-bedroom affordable flats and 34 two-bedroom flats.

A complete facelift of the existing five-storey block of flats was also planned, as well as s single-storey rear extension to the block to provide storage space for existing ground floor retailers.

A spokesman for the consortium said: "The plan to regenerate Ivel Court depended on the sale of 36 private flats by one of the project partners, McCann Homes - with some of the profit helping to pay for the new community facilities and contribute to the cost of the affordable housing. Unfortunately since we obtained planning permission the property market has collapsed and it is simply too risky to build the flats for sale in the current market.

"The consortium therefore has no option but to put the project on hold for the time being, and to look at it again when the property market improves."

NHH chief executive, Kevin Thompson, said: "This is very disappointing news but entirely understandable in the present economic climate.

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