THE massive regeneration of three ageing and decrepit housing estates in Farnborough will be a huge boost to the area, councillors have claimed.

Politicians in the town's St John's ward have welcomed the building programme on land between Minley Road and Fleet Road, Cove, as a successful partnership between Rushmoor Council, the Ministry of Defence and housing associations.

The Defence Housing Executive has already completed the 45-home Guillemont Fields development and families are now moving in.

The adjoining site of ageing army flats and houses has been released by the MoD to Annington Homes, which has secured outline planning permission for a development of private houses on the same land.

At the same time officials are considering the future of the site of the former NAAFI building, which burnt down last June.

Local residents have complained to the council that the land has been turned into a dumping ground for household waste and is regularly used for illegal camps by travellers.

The council and the MoD are keen to see the site improved, possibly through a small private housing development, which could raise funds for a community centre close to Parsonage Farm School.

The centre would provide adult learning facilities, a library and a base for a whole range of family activities.

Hart Housing Association residents on the Pyestock estate will welcome the first phase of the long-awaited demolition of the ageing, concrete REEMA houses, which is planned to start this October.

They have long campaigned for their homes to be upgraded.

They had claimed that the housing association had been promising to rebuild their houses ever since they were found to have a progressive weakness, known as concrete cancer, more than 20 years ago.

And in February last year they petitioned Rushmoor Council demanding action.

The multi-million pound rebuilding programme will see 87 homes on the estate torn down.

A total of 147 new homes, with a mix of between one and five bedrooms, will be built in their place.

Rushmoor's deputy leader Peter Moyle, who represents St John's ward, said the three projects would lead to "a much improved area".

"It will have better housing, better roads, better communication and a whole range of community initiatives," he said.

"It provides a wonderful opportunity to replace what was an ageing and quite frankly disturbing area of buildings with modern, light and environmentally sound ones.

"It shows that the civil authorities, the army and the housing associations can all work as partners to achieve something for the community."

All works should be completed by 2004.