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Newbury affordable homes plans submitted amid fears for site safety

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PLANS have been submitted for 18 affordable homes in Newbury – amid fears that their proximity to a homeless hostel will make them unsafe.

The Newtown Road site, which has been vacant since 2004, sits next to the Two Saints hostel.

Locals claim the patch is plagued by drunks, rubbish and bottles, prompting security fears.

“I’m a great supporter of Two Saints, but it’s a mess round there in the evenings, with drink bottles and rubbish," Billy Drummond (Lib Dem, Eastfields) told Newbury Town Council earlier this year as part of the public consultation exercise.

“There’s terrible rubbish round there. It’d be a terrible place with all those drunks around there at night and there is terrible trouble with them.”

Housing association Sovereign and West Berkshire Council are working together to redevelop the site.

The plans are for 18 homes in two identical blocks of flats, with one of the apartment blocks for rent at reduced rates and the other for shared ownership.

The planning application states that the need for affordable housing in the locality is evident and the proposed development will make a substantial contribution to its availability.

It adds that the scheme will make a good contribution to meeting the significant need for quality affordable housing across West Berkshire.

Access to the site – provisionally called Phoenix Court – will be off the existing access road on the southern boundary.

The site is currently a vacant and overgrown brownfield site and previously formed an area of land which housed the old Sandleford Hospital.

The hospital has since been demolished with the northern portion redeveloped in 2004 as the Phoenix Resource Centre.

West Berkshire Council no longer directly provides new housing for rent, but works with other organisations, especially housing associations, enabling them to build new homes.

The Government's definition when it comes to renting is that affordable homes should cost no more than 80 per cent of the average local market rent. When it comes to home ownership, it is a little less clear cut.

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