Sanctuary withdraws from Better Queensway project - but Council remains committed to delivering regeneration for residents

Sanctuary Housing Association has confirmed its intention to withdraw from the Better Queensway project.

An aerial view of the Queensway flats and Essex Street Car Park

The news is confirmed in a report to the council's shareholder board which will be discussed next week (Monday 14 August), along with managing Sanctuary’s exit from the limited liability partnership (LLP) that has been set up to deliver the project.

This follows the merger between Swan Housing Association and Sanctuary earlier this year. Sanctuary has now confirmed its intention to prioritise investment and commitment to existing homes and communities and focus on the delivery of schemes where construction has already started.

Cllr David Garston, cabinet member for housing and planning, says: “We had of course been hopeful of working together with Sanctuary; however, we understand that their priority is to protect the tenants and homes that they have taken over from Swan Housing Association.

"The Better Queensway regeneration project has always been about the residents of the estate, and we know this news will be disappointing for them, as it is for the council and all those that have worked hard on the project for many years.

“In the short term and whilst we consider next steps, we will ensure that our tenants are well looked after and that any remaining empty flats will be brought back into use.”

There are several options for the Council to consider on how it could progress the regeneration scheme and these are set out in the report. These include delivering the scheme in its current form itself, by taking on the developer role and awarding construction contracts for the works - or seeking an alternative partner to continue with the current scheme. The existing LLP could be utilised for this purpose. In addition, the Council could take the opportunity to review the current scheme and promote an alternative scheme for consideration that continues to place local residents at the heart of the regeneration.

Cllr Dan Nelson, cabinet member for economic growth and investment, says: “Although we must now assess what our next steps will be, we remain committed to finding a solution so we can take a project forward and transform this area for the benefit of the local community and the city as a whole.

“The Council's priority is to establish clarity on the best way forward for the City, local residents and all stakeholders as soon as possible and quickly develop potential options to deliver the city's regeneration ambition for this area, in line with Full Council's unanimous support of the project.

"This work will be completed as quickly as possible, and the intention is to report back to a future meeting of Cabinet on these findings and to recommend a way forward.”

Published: 10th August 2023

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