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8 May 2014, 08:59 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
The last phase of the multi-million pound regeneration of a once-deprived Gosport housing estate starts today.
Work will begin to tear down the final high-rise blocks, to make way for 127 new homes. 550 are being built in total, with work due to finish by 2018.
Rowner's Precinct area was in the top 20% most deprived in England and was generally regarded as one of the worst estates in South-East England. Property prices were very low as living conditions were poor. As the freehold of the building was in private ownership little could be done to improve the infrastructure.
The Rowner Renewal Partnership's members include First Wessex, Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Homes and Communities Agency and Taylor Wimpey) is therefore very proud of its regeneration work completed so far. Rowner's regeneration has four phases which have already spanned seven years to deliver new sustainable and affordable housing, retail outlets for employment, pocket parks, tree lined avenues and a new Community Trust.
They say the high-quality new homes being built on the site have proved to be a big hit with discerning property seekers and existing residents, and leading housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is continuing to experience high levels of demand for its homes at its Alver Village development.
Hazel Warwick Deputy Chief Executive of First Wessex and spokesperson for the Partnership says:
"Today is the moment that everyone has been longing to see - for us to start to tear down the high rise buildings that have dominated the landscape for the past fifty-odd years. First Wessex residents and private home owners in the area will be pleased to see us start on this final phase."
Ian Lycett, Chief Executive of Gosport Borough Council explained:
"This is a significant day for Rowner and for Gosport as a whole. The Council has worked long and tirelessly to achieve the regeneration of this estate and the demolition of these high rise blocks marks a major step in the transformation of Rowner. The Council would like to thank our partners and other community stakeholders for their continuing support."
The demolition will make room for the final phase which includes 127 new homes with 88 two, three and four bedroom houses and 39 one and two bedroom apartments. Phase 4 will also complete the tree-lined avenue which runs north/south through the whole regeneration area and realigns it to create a new hard landscaped community square by the new retail centre. There will also be better footpaths between the community hub and the housing.
The Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Ken Thornber, said:
"As a member of the Renewal Partnership, the County Council is delighted to see the project entering its final phase having already achieved so much. Linked with our recent investment in enhanced facilities at Siskin Schools, the fulfilment of the original vision will be a lasting enhancement of the whole area."
Fiona Creed, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey, added:
"This regeneration project is totally transforming Rowner for the benefit of existing and new residents, thanks to the creation of high-quality new homes and a raft of public open spaces, facilities and retail outlets. In addition, the project has brought a number of economic benefits to the area, including the creation of jobs in construction, associated services and retail. It is a truly sustainable new community, and one we are tremendously proud to be involved with."
Phil Littlewood, Area Manager at Homes and Communities Agency said:
"We have worked hard and invested significantly to support the vision to turn Rowner around. People can now see the benefits that this is bringing to the area. The public investment in Rowner has helped to transform the area and given partners the confidence to attract leading names and further private sector investment into the neighbourhood. This is a terrific result for Rowner and it's great that the next stage of its transformation is now underway."