Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has acted to improve relations between Curo and some Foxhill residents over the plans to demolish and rebuild a large part of the estate.
The Foxhill Residents’ Association (FRA) and Curo have had their first face to face meeting since Curo’s regeneration of Foxhill was granted outline planning permission by B&NES Council. The meeting, which was chaired by Wera Hobhouse, was attended by 3 representatives from each side, including Victor da Cunha, the Chief Executive at Curo and Nola Edwards for the FRA.
Wera Hobhouse said: ‘I’m very grateful to both sides for accepting my invitation to meet. The situation was in danger of becoming very confrontational, and I felt I needed to do something to help. The residents laid out their concerns with the current plans, and Curo’s consultation process, and I believe that Curo listened.
“Both sides have agreed to meet again with a view to rebuilding trust, and Curo have committed to come forward with a more collaborative approach to working with residents. My team and I will do whatever is needed to help them achieve this goal. I can see that there is some common ground between them, such as the need for some regeneration, so whilst there is a lot of work to be done, I remain hopeful about the future of Foxhill. I know both sides want this to be a turning point in their relationship.”
The meeting, which took place at Foxhill at the end of August, was an opportunity for the FRA to put their concerns to Curo’s most senior staff.
FRA chair, Nola Edwards said: “This was a helpful and much needed meeting, and we are grateful to Wera for organising and chairing it. Residents remain deeply worried and upset about the future of our community. What we heard from Curo was positive but needs to be put into practice. We have agreed that the FRA will continue to encourage more tenants to engage with negotiations in order that all residents are more fully represented.”
Curo CEO, Victor da Cuhna said: “We gladly accepted Wera Hobhouse’s invitation to attend this meeting in the hope that we could begin a constructive dialogue with this particular group of Foxhill residents. I wanted to reassure them that Curo is completely committed to achieving the best possible outcome for all the residents of Foxhill. We listened to their concerns and have committed to review the way we consult, both with the FRA and with other groups. We must keep talking. Like the FRA, Curo remains strongly committed to increasing the amount of social rented housing across Mulberry Park and Foxhill – My hope is that we reach a point whereby Curo, the Council and the FRA can lobby together for capital subsidy from the Government, which we are yet to receive."
A second meeting is to be held at the beginning of October.