Emsworth residents learn of plan to knock their homes down

Bob Stone at home in Woodfield Park, Emsworth. Picture by Kate Shemilt
Bob Stone at home in Woodfield Park, Emsworth. Picture by Kate Shemilt

DAYS after reassuring residents’ their homes would not be sold, a housing association instead said it planned to knock them down.

The Hyde Group plans to demolish half of the homes at Woodfield Park, in Emsworth, building 17 houses and bungalows in their place for sale.

Bob Stone, 65, will lose his home of 16 years.

“We’ve got to be philosophical,” said Mr Stone.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop it. We’ve got to grin and bear it.”

He has been told he will be able to move across the street to another Hyde property also planned to undergo refurbishment, although he will have to downsize from a two-bed flat to a one-bed flat.

“I’ve spent 16 years getting the place together, I’m now 65 and I’ve got to start again. I’m not very happy,” said Mr Stone.

“They’re offering us displacement money and the money for new carpets and curtains.

“It still doesn’t make up for the fact that I’ve got to start over again with the garden.”

He said the idea of refurbishing some of the homes was for residents whose homes were being demolished to be able to move across the road and stay in the street.

“I will definitely want to move over the other side, I don’t want to leave Emsworth,” he said.

“It’s a lovely part of the country and I’ve got plenty of friends here so I don’t want to leave.”

He said plans still had to be finalised, with Hyde expected to approach Chichester District Council for planning permission to knock down the buildings and build new ones.

The Observer approached the Hyde Group for a comment but a spokeswoman said it had nothing to add to the statement it gave when the Observer approached it in July to ask what the future held for the residents.

On July 20, regional director Chyrel Brown said: “I’d like to reassure residents of Woodfield Park that it is not our intention to sell the land.

“We do want to talk to them about the future of their homes and that is why we’ve written to residents on an individual basis to arrange appointments. We look forward to consulting with them.”

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