Wed, 20 Dec 2017
PRESSURE from Newbury Town Council has prompted a housing association to reconsider the number of affordable homes included in the Hutton Close redevelopment in Shaw.
The council has objected to the controversial plans from Sovereign Housing to demolish 54 bungalows used for social housing and replace them with 80 new homes.
If given the go-ahead by West Berkshire Council, the plans would see the amount of social and affordable housing on the site reduced from 54 to 24.
However, the housing provider says it is now reconsidering its plans.
In May, Newbury Town Council’s planning and highways committee objected to the application, saying: “Given the severe need for affordable and low-cost homes in the area, we consider that the application should be to replace the present social accommodation with the same number of social dwellings.”
Concerns over traffic from the new estate on to Shaw Road had been raised, while councillors also suggested the social housing should be pepper-potted throughout the site.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the planning and highways committee, Sovereign Housing’s asset and regeneration director Roger Keeling told councillors: “We have looked at pepper-potting and we have also looked at the potential for increasing the proportion of affordable housing.
“The application is compliant in terms of policy, but we have an interest to maximise the proportion of affordable housing on that site.”
Mr Keeling attended the meeting at the town hall specifically to address the concerns raised by the committee in June.
The application, submitted in May, is still in the consultation phase and has currently garnered three letters of representation from nearby residents also raising concerns over the traffic impact on Shaw Road.
However, despite the comments from councillors and residents over the traffic, Mr Keeling stated at the meeting that, based on the transport assessment accompanying the application, Sovereign didn’t think the new homes would lead to additional pressure on the road.
In 2014, the plans caused controversy after residents, many of them elderly, were forced out of their homes by Sovereign to make way for the redevelopment.
Mr Keeling confirmed at the meeting that all former Hutton Close residents had now been re-housed.
The housing association said redevelopment of the estate was necessary as the bungalows were difficult to heat and had a level of inefficiency resulting in ongoing maintenance issues.
Speaking at the meeting, Jeff Beck (Con, Clay Hill) asked if it was necessary to bulldoze all of the bungalows in Hutton Close.
After hearing that was indeed the case, he said: “It seems a pity to lose that standard of housing.
“Over the years they have been what I would call cherished properties and well-maintained by the tenants.”