September saw a special visitor come to Gorse Ride, as local MP James Sunderland met with Cllr John Kaiser, Wokingham Borough Councils executive member for finance and housing, to take a look at the new homes on Arnett Avenue.
Also present at the visit were ward members Cllr Simon Weeks and Cllr Rebecca Margetts, local community representatives Steve Bowers, Annette Lenton and Steve Greenwood, along with members of the Gorse Ride project team who are managing the works on site.
The completed properties at Arnett Avenue, are now managed by council owned Registered Provider Loddon Homes. These new homes are the first phase of the council’s ambitious Gorse Ride regeneration project which seeks to replace existing dated and poor condition properties with modern energy efficient homes to better meet resident’s needs.
This initial phase has seen the creation of 46 new houses and apartments, made up of a mix of shared ownership, social rented and privately owned properties. The homes have been designed and built to a very high standard including elements such as a high level of insulation to keep people warm and lower fuel bills, and large windows to provide lots of natural light.
“It was great to be able to show James Sunderland just what’s been achieved at Arnett Avenue,” Said Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing. “It’s a real testament to the quality of what can be achieved by working with the local community and investing in the great housing they need.
“Initial feedback from those moving into the new homes has been fantastic and we really believe these residents will see the difference living in modern homes brings. Our hope is that Arnett Avenue will help showcase the level of quality we aim to achieve across the next phases of the Gorse Ride regeneration as well as demonstrating our commitment to the local community and to keeping them involved.”
Steve Bowers, who in addition to being chair of the community steering group, was also a Gorse Ride Resident and has moved into one of the new houses on Arnett Avenue, said: “It was great to spend some time with James and show him the Gorse Ride project, also he was very interested in what was going on in the rebuilding of this community”
In addition to visiting the new properties at Arnett Avenue the tour also allowed James Sunderland to see the remaining roads which will make up phase 2 of the regeneration, including Billing Avenue, Orbit Close and Firs Close. He was also able to view some of the vacant properties which are currently being stripped out and made ready for demolition in October, seeing the construction issues which affect properties across Gorse Ride.
Demolition works will be carried out in phases to minimise impact on residents surrounding the site, with areas cleared and hoarded off to make them safe.
Cllr Kaiser continued “Seeing the properties like this really reinforces why it’s so important that we can proceed with the regeneration of Gorse Ride. They were never built to last this long and simply aren’t up to the rigors of modern life. Whilst we could have made minor improvements and repairs, we simply couldn’t achieve the same fantastic quality as we can with a complete re-build.
“We’re very thankful to the local community as the residents have continued to stay involved and work with us closely to get to this point. Our aim is to minimise disruption as much as possible as we start to demolish some of the vacant homes and move forward with wider works on site. However, I’d urge any resident with concerns to get in contact with the Gorse Ride community engagement team. They are here to help and are very happy to answer questions and provide support.”
Phase 2 of the Gorse Ride regeneration will see the existing properties replaced with 249 brand new energy efficient homes, a massive 74% of which will be affordable homes to meet local demand. The regeneration will also see the creation of a new open village green area which is set to become a real focal point for the local community to relax and gather.
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