The first phase of Wokingham Borough Council’s ambitious £30million redevelopment of the Gorse Ride residential estate in Finchampstead was approved at last night’s planning committee (10 October).
The borough council has agreed this redevelopment will be carried out in phases. Many of the existing homes on the estate are outdated with timber frames and modular construction, so the borough council wants to replace them with fresh modern homes.
The first phase of the project, focuses on Cockayne Court along with homes in Arnett Avenue (odd numbers from 97 to 107) and 154 Barkham Ride. These properties will be replaced with ten houses and two blocks of flats to create 46 new homes - 16 more than at present in that location. Some 93 per cent of these 46 news homes will be affordable housing. And they will accommodate those people who will need to move in the next phases which, will focus on the main estate.
If all the stages are approved, the overall redevelopment is expected see 208 properties replaced with about 290 new homes, which would be a mix of one and two bedroom bungalows and apartments, and houses ranging from two to five bedrooms.
“This extra housing would be created by removing unsightly and under-used garages and alleys, whilst maintaining most of the mature trees that make it such an attractive area.”
All affected council tenants and home owners will be able (if they wish) to move into a new home on the renewed estate. Affected tenants will be offered their new home on a lifetime assured tenancy with broadly similar terms to their current council tenancy.
Affected home owners will be offered a range of options, including the opportunity to buy new homes on the estate (or potentially off site) with support through an equity loan scheme or similar help to ensure their new home is comparable with their old.
“This is fantastic news for the Gorse Ride estate, and follows years of hard work in developing our plans. Residents have been involved in shaping the new estate early on, and I am pleased for them that we now finally have planning permission for the first phase, said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for housing.
“This council has ambitious housing plans which are designed to address the needs of the area and, as importantly, providing high quality homes in a great community. Gorse Ride is rich and vibrant community which we are committed to safeguarding now and in the future. Many of our tenants and also home owners on the estate wish to stay and we have a solid plan in place that allows them to do so. This is a major milestone in our plans.”
Working with WHL
The borough council worked with Wokingham Housing (WHL), its housing company, to submit the planning application for Phase 1. WHL will manage the redevelopment of Phase 1, and construction work is anticipated to start in June 2019; finishing in late summer 2020.
The council is currently seeking views on the refined masterplan and detailed design options for Phase 2 of the redevelopment. These were presented to the steering group comprising council tenants and owner occupiers as well as local councillors, staff and other community stakeholders, earlier this month.
Anyone interested in the masterplan and detailed design options for Phase 2, can visit the council’s Gorse Ride regeneration webpage. Interested parties have until October 16 to give their views.
“I’d like to thank the steering group for their hard work representing the interests of residents and the wider community affected by the development proposals. Their views have been really informative and have shaped how we move forward with our proposals for Phase 2. There is still time to let us know what you think about the detailed design options for Phase 2, please visit our website for more information, added Cllr Jorgensen.