RESIDENTS fear they will not be able to afford new homes built in place of their existing ones in the newly approved Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration scheme.

On Thursday the council gave final approval for the Brent Cross Cricklewood Partners to redevelop land south of the A406 to provide 7,500 new homes and offices, over the next 20 years.

People living in Whitefields Avenue, many of whom have bought their houses, fear the cash they will be offered under a compulsory purchase order will not buy a new home on the estate.

Olive Lupkowski, who bought her council house of nearly 50 years under the right to buy scheme in 1994, said she had been left “in limbo” by the plans.

She told the Times Series: “These houses are our homes. They're not run down or dilapidated as people claim. We have lovely gardens and a good community round here.

“We don't know what we will be offered, but we've been told it won't be enough to cover the price of one of the new homes so we're either going to have to get a top up on our mortgage or go in with a housing association.

“They also haven't said when the move will start, but we know it will be at least four years. What's the point in doing anything to our homes in that time, we won't get any more money for them.”

She added residents would also be left “living in a building site” if they moved into the new homes, with the scheme scheduled to take 20 years to complete.

Another resident, Leonard Cole, 93, said he feared having to move away from the area and losing touch with people he described as his “support network”.

He said: “I don't know where I will be able to afford a new place with whatever they offer us. My daughter lives in Finchley so I can't move too far. I live alone and want that to continue.

“I also have a lot of things to help me like a stairlift in my house and it would be disastrous and costly to move those, but I need them.

“I've been here for 55 years. My church is here, my friends and support are all here. I don't know how I would live without this community.”

Jonathan Joseph, from the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners, said they would be appointing an independent resident liaison officer to help with relocation issues for Whitefield Estate residents.

He added: “We expect that one-to-one discussions with all home owners of Whitefield will take place in the early part of next year.

“There is a very demanding standard for the provision of private open space for all residents. Plus, of course, we are spending, right from inception of the development, very significant sums on public open space.

“We have already committed to provide a new home for all existing leaseholders, freeholders and secure council tenants who wish to remain in the area.

Mr Joseph said there would be a scheme to ensure residents could put the value of existing properties into higher value homes in the future.