The Wokingham Borough Council Gorse Ride regeneration programme took a significant step forward when construction started onsite last week.
Wokingham Housing (WHL) together with representatives from the council and the residents project steering group came together to mark the start of construction at the first phase of this £8million scheme on Thursday September 5.
The former Cockayne Court care home and seven surrounding bungalows were demolished in late 2018, to be replaced by 46 new homes ranging from three bedroom houses to one bedroom apartments. Upon completion in late 2020 these new properties will be available through of a range of affordable housing tenures including social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership, as well as for purchase by home owners who will be affected by the next phase of the regeneration.
WHL will work with RJ Leighfield to construct this site having partnered with them in 2017 to successfully deliver Fosters, an independent living development of 34 apartments. Bill Flood, managing director of WHL said “RJ Leighfield is a trusted partner of WHL. The organisation has a wealth of experience and expertise in the construction sector and were appointed following a competitive tender process. The results at Fosters were outstanding and we are looking forward to delivering the same quality housing at Gorse Ride.”
The work that started last week forms part of a much wider community regeneration project in Finchampstead. In total the regeneration will provide over 280 new homes whilst enhancing the community in which they sit. Chair of the WHL board and executive member for finance and housing, councillor John Kaiser said “There is a very strong community within Gorse Ride and today marks the first steps in regenerating it for the existing community as well as for prospective new residents. Council officers and staff from WHL have worked with tenants throughout the planning process for this major scheme and we are excited for work to now be starting.”
The planning application for Gorse Ride phase two is expected to be submitted in late 2019.
Chair of the WHL board councillor John Kaiser was joined by leader of the council John Halsall, the council’s director of corporate services Graham Ebers and manager of strategic planning and economic development Rhian Hayes, chair of the residents project steering group Steve Bowers, and representatives from WHL and the employers agent for the site Madlins to oversee the commencement of works.