Tenants of Buxton Estate in Mombasa have started being issued with cheques to help them vacate their houses to pave way for a Sh6 billion affordable housing project.
This comes after the Environment and Land Court dismissed a petition by some of the residents to halt the redevelopment of the estate.
On Friday, the tenants received a cheque of Sh240,000 from Mombasa County government to help them relocate from the houses to pave way for the construction of the 1,860 new apartments..
At the same time, the governor Joho-led government has begun demolishing illegal structures in Buxton as it prepares to bring down more than 500 houses in the estate. Mr Joseph Murage, who has been a tenant at the estate for 20 years, said the cheque comes as a relief to him as he awaits the houses to be reconstructed.
"The houses were in a dilapidated condition because they are very old. With the new project, I will not only become a house owner, but also live in a decent house," he said while receiving the money.
Those collecting cheques were required to sign two agreements including one to relocate and another one for the new house ownership.
The residents are expected to receive a compensation of Sh300, 000, but those interested in owning one bedroom houses once the new apartments are constructed are expected to pay a deposit of Sh60,000.
Mombasa County Lands and Physical Planning Chief Officer June Mwajuma said that once the construction begins, it will 12 months to complete the first phase.
She observed that residents will take full ownership of the houses in the affordable housing plan.
About 500 units at the estate will be redesigned and redeveloped into 1,860 modern units.
The new complex will have a social centre, a clinic, playgrounds, and water, power and environmental controls.
Early last week, the Environment and Land Court dismissed a petition by some residents challenging the implementation of the project.
The court said issues raised by the residents had been determined by another court four years ago in a petition which involved all 10 county estates.
Justice Sila Munyao ruled that Buxton was part of the 10 estates in the previous petition where the court made a determination on various issues among them the right to housing.
"You cannot remove one estate; in the previous petition, Buxton was one of the estates... .... the court will not have jurisdiction to re-open the issues," said Justice Munyao.
The multi-billion-shilling project was expected to start in January after most residents supported it during a public participation held last year.