Alok Sharma MP, Member of Parliament for Reading West, today visited St George’s multi-ethnic church in Tilehurst where construction is progressing on a new community facility and 12 one- and two-bedroom Stonewater homes for affordable rent.
The St George’s Road scheme is being financed and delivered by Stonewater, one the largest social and affordable housing providers in the Reading area, which manages around 560 homes.
Both St George’s new community space and Stonewater’s low-cost rental properties are being built on a brownfield site within St George’s grounds which also houses a derelict church hall.
Stonewater is developing the new accommodation on 8,000 sq ft of surplus land which it acquired from the church. The money from the sale is helping to fund St George’s new community facility, a single-storey church extension which will replace the old church hall.
Stonewater’s L-shaped, two-storey housing development will create a mix of four one-bedroom apartments, eight two-bedroom homes - providing two duplexes, two apartments and four maisonettes - and two one-bedroom houses, all for affordable rent. The anticipated monthly rent levels for the new accommodation are likely to be set between £147 for a one-bedroom apartment, and £193 for a one-bedroom house. The development includes ample car and cycle parking provision and landscaped amenity space.
Reading Borough Council has provided an additional £752,065 grant for the project to deliver a housing scheme which is 100% for affordable rent. The new community hall has been financed by the Church.
Reading-based architects, The Harris Partnership, are Stonewater’s design partners for the scheme which is being built by family-owned contractors Francis Construction. It is due for completion in December this year.
Alok Sharma said: “I was delighted to visit the development at St. Georges Church, discuss the plans and meet some of those involved with the build. The development will provide much needed affordable homes and also a brilliant community space. Building more affordable homes is very much part of the Government’s housing strategy and I welcome the Government’s announcement this week of £1.67 billion to deliver an additional 23,000 affordable homes. The Government has also opened the bidding from local councils for a share of an increased borrowing headroom of £1 billion, which will help to deliver more council housing. I hope local councils will take advantage of this scheme so more council houses can delivered locally.”
Nicholas Harris, Stonewater’s Chief Executive said: “We were delighted to give Alok a tour of our St George’s development which is a great example of how innovative affordable housing can breathe new life into the community. These desperately needed rental homes are not only regenerating a brownfield site in a prime residential location but enabling St George’s to build a vital community hub for local people in Tilehurst.”