Wed, 20 Jan 2021
THERE is progress at last after an apparent two-year hiatus on an affordable homes project in Hungerford.
Just before Christmas, this newspaper reported how there had been no visible progress on a flagship development to improve a semi-derelict area of the town.
Town mayor Helen Simpson has described the current state of the area as “a blot on the landscape”.
In January 2019, the site in Coldharbour Road was chosen to be developed under a new joint project by Sovereign Housing and West Berkshire Council.
The housing association announced at the time: “Chestnut Walk, in Hungerford, has been identified as one of the first sites that will be developed by this joint venture, pooling our land, investment and skills to replace a disused care home with eight new and affordable homes.”
The partnership confirmed it would build eight homes on the site of the former care home, which was forced to close after falling victim to West Berkshire Council’s cuts in 2016/17.
But despite those promises at the time, nothing further was announced – until now.
At the most recent full meeting of Hungerford Town Council, district councillor Dennis Benneyworth (Con, Hungerford and Kintbury) said: “I’ve learned they’re now looking to move on it after it fell into abeyance.”
Town mayor Helen Simpson said: “There’s been almost weekly reports about how the area was being used for antisocial behaviour, so I’m so pleased to hear that.”
Mr Benneyworth added: “They’re looking to demolish the former care home and to build the eight, shared ownership homes.
“It would be a real boost for that area, which has been looking very careworn for a long time.”
Mrs Simpson agreed, saying it was “a blot on the landscape”.
Mr Benneyworth said: “Absolutely. We will be seeking comments from Hungerford Town Council and from residents but on paper it looks like a very positive thing.”
West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton said last November: “We appreciate that the site is becoming run down, but we do have a regeneration plan in progress. We are through the advanced feasibility stage for this project and are currently working up designs for the development.”
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