PEOPLE living on a condemned estate claim their lives have been put on hold because of the slow progress of the Farnborough town centre redevelopment.

Residents of Firgrove Court were told two years ago that they face relocation to make way for a car park as part of the north Queensmead development.

Twenty-four of the residents, who currently pay rent to Pavilion Housing Association, were promised brand new homes on the old Solartron site.

But the application for the new development is still in the early stages, with the earliest move in date not until 2005.

Furthermore, the application by town centre developer Key Property Investments (KPI) to tear down the homes has only been approved in its outline form.

According to Rushmoor Head of Planning, Keith Holland, there remains months of detailed discussion before a final plan is put before councillors.

The prolonged process has meant that tenants and the occupiers of four privately owned homes have been left in a state of limbo, unable to plan for the future.

One woman, whose partner owns a property and who did not want to be named, complained at the lack of progress.

"I really want to move but it has dragged on for a long time. Everything is crumbling and going to bits. The whole area needs regenerating.

"The roofs are leaking and we get water coming through to the bedroom. The outside doesn't look much better.

"It has become a dumping ground and nobody comes to pick up the rubbish.

"We should not have to live like this."

Another homeowner, Sylvia Timlin, moved in with her late partner nine years ago and has enjoyed life in such a convenient location.

She said: "After I moved in to be with my partner we spent thousands on doing up the place. It's in a perfect location, near to the shops and the railway station.

"But I don't really want to stay because of the way Pavilion have let it go down hill. They have devalued my property — I couldn't sell it even if I wanted to."

Alan Bond and his wife Patricia are among those residents who do not want to move, angry that they are being forced into such a huge upheaval.

They have refused to sign a letter from Pavilion to show their support for the Solartron development.

"We don't want to move at this time of life," complained 77-year-old Alan, who suffers from arthritis and respiratory problems.

"We have seen the plans for the new flats and they look great, I can't complain about that. But it seems to have gone on for so long and it's always at the back of your mind. The uncertainty is terrible."

Pavilion spokesman, Mike Swaddling, said: "We appreciate the residents' concern at the seemingly long time this is taking, but this is mainly due to the fact that the provision of the new homes is part of a much larger scale project — the regeneration of the town centre."

He added that the majority of residents were happy with the proposals for the new homes.

"We held an open meeting in June at which we presented our plans and gave them a chance to comment, and the feedback was very positive.

"Each family will receive a compensation payment of £1,500, along with a payment of up to £750 for removals.

"The rents of their new homes will be equivalent to those that they will be paying at the time of transferring across. But their running costs should be lower as the properties will be better insulated."