This morning Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, came down to the Aylesbury Estate to see how the Council is taking the project forward. The government undermined the project last November by removing £170 million of PFI credits, but since then we have taken stock and are approaching the project in a slightly different way.
The plans to build 4000 new homes on the existing Aylesbury site are ambitious, and depend on us being able to drive up land values in the early stages of the project. So it is at the early stages that the finances are most difficult. Whilst we were not expecting the Minister to provide any immediate financial help, he clearly demonstrated his interest in this major regeneration project.
We will be letting him know further details about how the finances work for the next phase of the scheme, as much will be affected by the Government's changes to housing benefit and grant subsidy for new homes. So the Minister indicated that he would like to look at the next phase as a 'case study'.
Delivering the Aylesbury regeneration will not be easy, but we have the political commitment and determination to make sure that it happens!