Council agrees to £44 million investment in more affordable housing and improved facilities for vulnerable residents

THE former Central Pool site is one four across Reading earmarked for future development of both affordable housing and specialist accommodation for vulnerable residents, after Councillors agreed a £44 million investment last night (Jan 18th).

The four vacant sites will now be transferred to the local authority’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) where they can be used to develop more desperately-needed affordable homes across the town. The move follows a detailed review of the Council’s internal adult social care provision in Reading, with a view to providing modernised and improved accommodation, facilities and services for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents.

A meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee last night agreed the future investment plans which will deliver a combination of new Council homes, profound and multiple learning disabilities day opportunities & respite, mental health supported living and day opportunities for older people.

A total of 74 new Council flats are planned for the vacant leisure site on Battle Street, made up of both sheltered housing and general accommodation. There would be provision for day opportunities for older people, supported accommodation for people with mental health needs as well as six family sized Council homes. More than 3,800 people remain on  the Council’s housing waiting list as of last week, with a particular shortage of  family-sized homes in Reading.

At a vacant site on Hexham Road, 36 new sheltered housing flats are planned alongside the provision of services for vulnerable adults with a profound and multiple learning disability.

Reading Borough Council is now developing plans to deliver additional new homes for residents in need on the other two sites, at Amethyst Lane and Dwyer Road.

The overall £44 million investment is made up of £38 million from the Council’s Housing Revenue Account and £6 million from its General Fund.

Reading Borough Council continues to examine all possible opportunities to build more affordable homes in the town to help tackle the housing crisis, which is mirrored across the south east. A range of Council initiatives includes building new Council homes, new modular temporary accommodation to keep people out of B&Bs, working in partnership with a housing association to deliver sub market rent properties, acquiring former ‘right to buy’ properties and converting redundant spaces and garages into affordable homes.

John Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Housing, said:

“I am delighted with this latest expansion of our new build programme to address the significant housing need in our borough. A warm and safe home is the foundation for good health and education, and a thriving population. This is fundamental for everyone in Reading regardless of income, age or location. Our ambition is for all residents to have the opportunity to live in good quality, sustainable homes they can afford.  We are making best use of our land to achieve this through delivering new housing opportunities for residents, demonstrating our strong commitment to enhancing Reading’s communities.”

Tony Jones, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said:

"This is the most significant investment in adult social care services in Reading in many years, and launches a modernisation plan which will transform services for some of the most vulnerable people in our town. It demonstrates the Council’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities; helping them to lead as independent lives as possible whilst providing the specialist support they need.”