Reading Wins Bid to Build New Council Homes

A COUNCIL bid for funding to build new affordable homes in Reading has been approved by Homes England.

The £3.96m grant will allow Reading Borough Council to develop plans for a residential scheme in the Wensley Road area of Coley.

A public consultation will be launched later this month to allow residents in the area to give their views and influence plans for the development.

Reading was one of a number of local authorities which submitted bids to the government for grants to help address the national housing crisis. Outline plans secured the funding from Homes England but the Council will be working with residents to develop a detailed scheme.

High house prices and growing demand for private rented property has resulted in many people struggling to access housing in Reading, even if they grew up in the town. There is a desperate shortage of affordable housing in Reading, as there is across the south east.

Additional staffing of homelessness prevention teams, specialist frontline housing advice and closer working with private landlords has helped keep down the number of households coming to the Council in housing crisis but there is still high demand for affordable homes.

The Council is delivering 148 new affordable homes through Phase 1 of its new-build programme, including 57 homes at the near-complete Conwy Close development, in Tilehurst, and 28 temporary homes in Lowfield Close, Caversham.

Around 100 new affordable homes are being delivered over the next three years through Phase 2 of the programme and Phase 3 is beginning with the proposed Coley scheme.

A further £2.2m grant has been secured from Homes England to support a 39-home development in North Street, central Reading, which already has planning permission.

Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said:

“The millions of pounds coming from Homes England for new affordable homes in Reading are very welcome.

“Like many other towns in the south-east, Reading has become an increasingly expensive place to live with rising house prices and high private rents. 

“In light of the national housing crisis, the government has acknowledged that local authorities have a vital role to play in providing new Council homes.

“With its tight boundaries and lack of space, Reading has had to become more creative with identifying sites where desperately-needed new Council homes can be built.

“An outline scheme was submitted to Homes England for the purposes of this bid but now the Council will be consulting with residents to develop a scheme which will bring benefits to the community as a whole.”

David Millward

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