Local MP visits innovative Stonewater low-cost housing scheme at church in Tilehurst

Local MP for Reading West and Minister of State for Employment, Alok Sharma, visited St George’s Church in Tilehurst where construction is progressing on an urgently-needed new community facility and 12 one- and two-bedroom Stonewater homes for affordable rent.

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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 593 homes. During his visit, the Employment Minister met with ‘Connor’, a young apprentice bricklayer from Reading who is working with Stonewater’s construction partners Francis Construction, a local family-owned building firm based in Thatcham.

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.

Alok Sharma MP says: “I was delighted to visit the development at St George’s 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 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.”

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 weekly rent levels for the new accommodation are likely to be set between £145 for a one-bedroom apartment, and £200 for a one-bedroom house. The development includes ample car and cycle parking provision and landscaped amenity space.

“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,” says Nicholas Harris, Stonewater’s Chief Executive. “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.”

Stonewater’s investment in the new development is supported by grant funding from Reading Borough Council of £752,065 grant. The new community hall has been financed by the Church.

Reading-based architects, The Harris Partnership, are Stonewater’s design partners for the scheme.

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