New Council homes for key workers open

Affordable homes for 15 key workers in Reading were officially opened this week on the site of the former Arthur Hill pool.

Cllr Tony Page, the Mayor of Reading, cut the ribbon on the development on Kings Road on Thursday 18 January.

Nurses, social workers, teachers and police officers are among the vital public sectors workers eligible to rent out the new Council-owned flats.

The modern new flats, 13 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom, are just a short walk from Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital. The front façade of the former Arthur Hill pool site has been retained in order to preserve the character and heritage of the building, which is 110 years old and locally listed.

The former Arthur Hill pool was replaced by the Council with the modern new Palmer Park Leisure Centre which opened last year. It includes a brand new 25m 6-lane pool, linked to existing sports facilities, which combines the benefits of a swimming pool, velodrome and athletics stadium all in one accessible location.

All the 15 new homes will be rented to key workers on the Council’s housing register.

The accommodation provides a blueprint for future housing builds in Reading by applying passivhaus principles to create environmentally-friendly and low-energy buildings, contributing to Reading’s net-zero by 2030 ambition.

Triple glazing has been installed, as well as the use of air source heat pumps to retain and reuse existing heat already generated within the buildings. This along with solar panels on the roofs will ensure that as well as striving for carbon-neutral homes, energy bills for the key worker tenants will be kept as low as possible.

The new development forms part of the Council’s investment of over £110m to provide 400 affordable new homes between 2021 and 2025. The strategy will not only reduce the waiting list but also provide flexibility for current tenants to move to bigger homes as their families grow.

“Key workers play such an essential role in our society and it is hugely rewarding to see the Council provide 15 affordable homes here in Reading.

"We of course knew the former Arthur Hill pool site was of historical importance for people, so to be able to preserve its façade whilst providing crucial, high quality and affordable homes for our key workers is something which we’re proud of.

"As with all our housing developments, this is another example of our continued response to the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis by helping our residents deal with energy costs. We aim to keep up the momentum by continuing to provide even more affordable homes for people in Reading”.

Ellie Emberson, Reading Borough Council's Lead Councillor for Housing

A contribution to the Council’s costs was made by Homes England, a public body funding affordable homes through its Affordable Homes Programme. The programme provides funding to support the capital costs of developing affordable housing either for rent or for sale. 

Last updated on 18/01/2024