Affordable housing scheme funds new community hall

A development of 12 affordable homes in Reading has completed, as social housing provider Stonewater breathes new life into the old grounds of a derelict community hall.

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The Reading-based organisation received support from Reading Borough Council to build the mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats and houses, on St George’s Road.

The average rent in the district is around £950 a month, which is more than a third of the typical local living wage. To help meet the demands for affordable housing in the area, all 12 homes have been built exclusively for local people, for affordable rent and delivered by Francis Construction.

This scheme is an excellent example of how Stonewater can work with local authorities to identify under-used sites in the community, which can then be revitalised into brand-new affordable housing. In addition to building the new homes, Stonewater has also supported local residents with a much-needed modern facility for social groups and events.

The affordable homes have replaced an old community hall that was previously owned by St George’s Tilehurst Church. As a result of selling the land to Stonewater, the Church has been able to fund an extension – also built by Francis Construction – to its current structure to create a brand-new community hall, comprising of two disabled access toilets, an office, kitchen and additional parking.

Matt Crucefix, Assistant Director of Development (West) at Stonewater, said: “We’re incredibly pleased with the completed homes we’ve brought to St George’s Road. Projects like this, whereby Stonewater is able to work closely with members of the community and local businesses, gives our colleagues the opportunity to make sure we truly meet the needs of local people. This development is a great example of how organisations can successfully help to tackle the housing shortage and enhance the lives of other members of the community – making it an even greater place to live and work.”

Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said: “There is a serious shortage of affordable housing in Reading and working with partners such as Stonewater is a positive way of providing homes for local people. I am also delighted that this scheme has resulted in a new community hall for the use of people in the area.”

Will Barrett, Managing Director of Francis Construction, said: “Francis is proud to be part of this important development; providing much needed homes and an inspiring community space. It’s been a pleasure working with the local community, the Church and Stonewater on a challenging project. It’s great to see the scheme deliver such a positive legacy.”