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Action For Housing calls for urgent urban regeneration

Action For Housing has hit out at the government for not initiating a regeneration of Road to the Lines project it announced in September 2019, four years ago.

In a statement it said the regeneration of Road to the Lines was to yield 100 studio flats for so-called low-cost rental and also provide commercial units in an area of the Upper Town which was described as iconic.

“This regeneration project was seen as spearheading the regeneration of a much wider urban area of the upper town, large tracts of which have been neglected for decades and have fallen into serious urban decay,” said the statement.

“Regrettably four years after this announcement nothing has been done to initiate this much trumpeted programme.”

“During the last budget debate Dr Garcia said that works to restore the Northern Defences was progressing although the works to rescue this historic site would take years.”

“On the Road to the Lines project Dr Garcia said this area has special significance and that the urban renewal programme was ongoing.”

“He said the proposal under discussion involves the introduction of modern infrastructure, improved accessibility, quality of design and the potential to attract a diverse market across social strata.”

“To conclude he said that the final negotiations between the preferred developer and the government were very close to a conclusion,” the statement added.

Action For Housing wrote to the Minister for Housing and copying in Dr Garcia on August 23 this year requesting an update to find out whether the negotiations had concluded satisfactorily.

By letter, September 6, Dr Garcia informed Action For Housing that the government had made certain counter proposals to the proposed developer and were awaiting a response.

“To date no further announcements have been made and we are very much in the dark as to whether this much delayed development will get off the ground and if so when,” said the statement.

“This is not the only pocket of urban decay, there are many others in areas such as Turnbull's Lane and Castle Street to mention two.”

“We note that during the recent election campaign the Chief Minister announced the new ‘lease and repair’ option.”

“This will enable people to rent a government home which might need to be repaired. We welcome this proposal as it can be enacted with immediate effect releasing many empty properties to people on the housing waiting list.”

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