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Estate to get £25m makeover

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ASHORD council has won a £25m grant to upgrade the town's poorest estate. The Government cash will be used to redevelop parts of Stanhope, to renovate council-owned properties and to pay for its management and upkeep for the next 30 years.

The council's housing manager Tracey Kerly said it would be nearly two years before work started on what is Ashford's largest housing estate.

First the council had to choose a consortium to undertake the project which would be carried out under the Government's Private Finance Initiative rules.

Tenants and residents would continue to be consulted regularly. Tendering consortia would be invited to suggest value-for-money ideas for improving the estate.

The intention was to cut a road through the estate, presently encircled by a ringway. This would mean demolishing all or part of two of Stanhope's eight apartment blocks: Luddenham and Bredgar.

Most of these housed council tenants but there were a dozen leaseholders with whom the council would negotiate terms. Mrs Kerly was confident that no houses would be affected.

The shopping existing shopping centre and former fuel filling station area would be used to provide new accommodation for those whose homes were demolished.

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