Progress is being made on the regeneration of Gorse Ride in Finchampstead, with a steering group now established and regular drop-in surgeries for residents underway.
The first phase of the regeneration will see the rehousing of residents and subsequent demolition and redevelopment of Cockayne Court, some properties in Arnett Avenue (97 – 107 odd numbers) and 154 Barkham Ride. There will be community engagement ahead of a planning application being submitted for the first phase, probably in the spring next year 2018. It is envisaged that the first phase will include about 40 new homes, made up of one and two bed flats and two and three bed houses, with the tenure mix still to be decided.
The council have commissioned consultants to look into the potential of regenerating the main estate (Phase 2+) which includes around properties at Whittle Close, Gorse Ride South, Billings Avenue, Orbit Close, Dart Close, Firs Close and Vicarage Close.
The design team are drawing up options which take into account technical information and community views. Through ongoing dialogue with residents and the wider community a preferred option for an illustrative masterplan will be identified in the New Year. The outcome of the feasibility work will be reported to the Council Executive in March 2018. They will make a decision on the next steps.
The Steering Group, which met for the first time last month, will ensure there continues to be meaningful input into the regeneration from the local community. It comprises representatives from across the estate, including council tenants and owner occupiers, as well as Wokingham borough councillors and officers.
Wokingham borough council’s deputy executive member for adult services Cllr Richard Dolinski said: “The consultation we carried out ahead in 2015 showed strong general support for regeneration of the estate and we know it will bring great benefits. We understand that people will naturally be concerned about the details and we will work closely with the community to get those right. The steering group and surgeries are very positive steps and will play an important role in making sure local people guide the regeneration of their own estate.”
As well as progress on the plans, the borough council is working with affected residents, including those in Cockayne Court to find them suitable new homes.
The next steering group meeting will be on 6 December and the next drop-in surgery will be at the Community House, Billing Avenue on Tuesday 28 November. For further information or to get involved please visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and search for ‘Gorse Ride regeneration’.