Affordable housing planned for former care centre site
Land at Newbury Day Centre in Newtown Road was freed up six years ago when it was knocked down to make way for the Phoenix Centre, a smaller development.
Building work on the homes never commenced on the site, despite the council frequently missing targets for the supply of cheap housing.
Frustration over the slow release of the land promoted to the shadow housing spokesman Tony Vickers (Lib Dem, Northcroft) to question the council’s plan at a meeting of the executive on Thursday.
The portfolio holder for housing, Roger Croft (Con, Thatcham South) confirmed that a tender process would start next month.
“The supported living development programme is now focussing on further priority work streams, one of which is the Phoenix centre. This development project is determined to deliver 23 accommodation units of mixed tenure housing, 12 of which can be used to offer support for vulnerable people,” he said.
Mr Vickers accepted the response but pressed for the reasons behind the six-year delay and said it could become a matter for a scrutiny panel to investigate.
The council’s community care spokesman Joe Mooney (Con, Birch Copse) stepped in to respond.
“The reason for the delay on the Phoenix Centre site is because the first use we identified, just when we were about to proceed with it, the requirement for it was no longer an issue, and it would have been wrong for us to proceed,” he said.
“The second project that we had earmarked was also not suitable, so that is why it has taken that length of time.”