PROGRESS is being made towards selling the former recycling depot in Pound Lane for housing.
A proposal to sell the Veolia site was put forward in 2013 after it became surplus to requirements, following the opening of the Padworth centre in 2012.
Two years later, West Berkshire Council has said that a deal is now close at hand.
Responding to a question from the leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat opposition, Alan Macro (Theale), at a meeting of the council’s executive committee, the council’s member for property, Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston) said: “I’m pleased to tell you that a lot of progress has been made recently in the selling of the Pound Lane depot.
“The final wording of the contract for sale of Pound Lane to Persimmon is close to being agreed between the council and the Persimmon board, so we expect to see it wrapped up fairly soon.”
Mr Macro replied: “Thank you, the last time I asked this question I was given a similar answer except that the sale was then thought to be very close, so I am glad that some progress has been made.”
In April this year, the council’s then executive member for finance, Alan Law (Con, Basildon), said that the council was expecting to exchange contracts for the former Veolia recycling depot within four to six weeks.
At the time of the sale being decided in 2013, the council agreed that an amount of money raised by the sale of the land should be earmarked towards more affordable housing in the district.
A minimum of 47 homes are expected to be built on the site, 15 of which are earmarked as affordable.
The site appeared in West Berkshire Council’s strategic housing land availability assessment document with a development potential of 21 properties, although it noted that the site could accommodate between 40 and 50 units.
The document stated that the depot was immediately available, with nothing to indicate that it was not viable, and deliverable within a five-year time period.
Developer Persimmon has also expressed an interest in developing homes on the Lower Way field.
The field has been outlined to accommodate 85 homes in the council’s development plan document.