RESIDENTS whose houses have been earmarked for demolition under a regeneration scheme are furious they may be forced to borrow money to buy a new property.
Residents in West Accrington will find out on Tuesday whether or not they will be forced to move as part of Phase Two of Project Phoenix.
If their houses are included, they say the compensation they receive from the council will need topping up for them to afford another property.
And they are angry that the council is offering only an interest-free loan as opposed to a non-repayable grant which was awarded to householders included in Phase One.
Mark Hoyle, strategic housing manager for Hyndburn Council, denied claims that the council could not afford to provide relocation grants.
He said: "The intention behind this proposal is to help people bridge the gap in order to buy a new home. They won't have to pay it back until they sell their home or until the benefactor of the loan dies.
"People must remember that house prices in Hyndburn have risen significantly and this is partly due to the Housing Market Renewal Fund, so when people are eventually required to pay back the loan their house will be worth so much more.
"This is a way of recycling funds and helping future residents benefit from regeneration."
However, residents in the area earmarked for demolition feel they are being treated unfairly.
Christine Smith, 54, of Holland Street, said: "If I have to borrow, money in order to buy a new house, I will have nothing left to leave my children when I die.
"They will inherit my house but will have to sell it in order to pay back the loan.
"I own my present house outright, and I have always worked and paid my taxes, so I can't believe that I will have to borrow money at my age when I am very happy where I am."
Mr Hoyle added residents would not have to pay interest on the equity loan but there would be a small administration fee.
Hyndburn MP, Greg Pope, said: "The council says it does not have enough money to give a grant to all residents affected by Phase Two, and I am very unhappy about this as it gets a huge amount of money from the Government through Elevate which is funding the regeneration.
"The relocation grant is very important, as the residents have no choice in what happens to their houses.
"I believe that if the number of houses ear-marked for demolition was less then there would be more money available to provide grants. I need an assurance that the residents are being treated fairly."
A decision about which houses are to be demolished and the proposed loans will be made on Tuesday.