Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Construction of first new Council homes in Reading for 20 years begins
These facilities and a range of activities will be available to residents and older people living in the community. The development will include private areas for residents only, including lounges, a roof terrace and a garden at the southern end of the scheme, where keen gardeners can practise their skills. Older people, including residents in sheltered housing and day centre clients were involved in choosing the design of the scheme. Their suggestions included a BBQ area and raised flower/vegetable beds in the garden. Future consultation will take place to allow choices to be made on colour options, furniture and fittings. All of the flats will be self-contained with their own kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, lounge and dining area. The building will be wheelchair accessible and all residents will have access to on-site 24-hour care staff, but not everyone will need this service. The site is close to local amenities and accessible by public transport, making it easy for residents to get out and about I'm pleased their ideas will be Incorporated into the scheme.
I am delighted that the Coalition Administration of Reading Borough Council succeeded in securing financial backing from the Homes and Communities Agency for this important development. The progress of the scheme had been threatened as a result of the dire state of the public finances left by the previous Labour government. I was actively involved in lobbying both Reading MPs and through them the Housing Minister Grant Shapps to help us win funding for the scheme. Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East was very supportive, as was neighbouring MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma MP.
I am pleased the HCA agreed with us that this project represents an excellent example of investing to save. It will help Reading Borough Council support more local people to live independently in their own homes for longer - this is much needed as the number of frail elderly people in our area is on the rise. I will continue to campaign for more new housing to be built to meet local housing need and sincerely hope the Coalition Government is more successful in this regard than the Labour government was.