Councillors clashed over whether a massive estate renewal programme will benefit residents.

The Joyce Avenue and Snells Park estate redevelopment – a plan to knock down ageing flats and build nearly 3,000 homes in Upper Edmonton – was debated at a full council meeting on Wednesday (November 20).

Members of Enfield’s Labour administration said the £770 million scheme would provide affordable housing and improve the lives of people living in one of the most deprived parts of the borough.

But Conservative councillors warned of the high cost of the scheme – set to add £600 million to Enfield Council’s debt pile – and cast doubt on its supposed benefits.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan (Labour, Jubilee) told the meeting the scheme could “dramatically improve the life chances and opportunities of residents in Edmonton”.

She added: “Residents have told us time and time again they feel abandoned. They want significant investment and improvement.”

Cllr Caliskan said residents would be able to move directly from their old homes into new ones without the need for “mass decanting” or “pushing communities out of the area”.

She added the plan was to offer every existing resident a home on the new estate, with the council retaining ownership of almost every home on the completed scheme.

But Cllr Edward Smith (Conservative, Cockfosters), said his group’s support for regeneration schemes depended on them being affordable, deliverable in a reasonable amount of time and providing better conditions and standards than before.

He said: “The proposed outline approach does not meet these criteria, in our view. The scheme will require an additional £600 million in borrowing to complete.

“The proposed density of the estate is being increased by three times. The proposed timescale will take 15 years to complete and may take longer, which means many residents will spend most of the remaining years living on a construction site.”

Cllr Smith’s colleague, Cllr Mike Rye (Conservative, Town ward), called the estate renewal “a scheme that rips away aspiration” because it does not give people the right to buy homes on the estate.

He said: “One of the biggest ways of giving aspiration is to give people a chance to have a share of the bricks and mortar which they live in.”

And Cllr James Hockney (Conservative, Bush Hill Park), criticised the plans to build some homes on neighbouring Florence Hayes Recreation Ground.

He said: “We need more housing, but we have to find a way of protecting our green spaces while delivering more homes.”

But Cllr Mahtab Uddin (Labour, Upper Edmonton) said the scheme would provide “energy-efficient, good quality new homes for residents”.

He added: “There is a desperate need for more investment and better living standards in Upper Edmonton.

“There should be equality within the borough. The east of the borough has been neglected for far too long, and that is not acceptable.”

Cllr Mary Maguire, (Labour, Palmers Green), cabinet member for finance and procurement, defended the cost of the scheme.

Cllr Maguire said: “It is not right to say the scheme is not viable. High-level modelling demonstrates it is a viable scheme with repayment over 50 years.

“If we want to make improvements, we are going to have to borrow money. We are borrowing on reasonable terms. We can’t have a piggy bank and hope one day we have enough to put a deposit down.”

Conservative councillors voted against the plans to prepare a residents’ ballot on the proposals.

But with the majority Labour Group voting in favour, the council will draw up plans for a ballot that will allow existing residents of the estate to vote on the proposed renewal scheme.