Wokingham Today

Ted talks: PM helps Phoenix to rise

- By PHIL CREIGHTON news@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May officially opened a new councilbui­lt developmen­t of affordable homes in Wokingham, Berkshire on Friday, March 16.

She was in Phoenix Avenue, a new developmen­t of 68 houses and apartments set in the Norreys Ward, close to Wokingham town centre.

After meeting senior Wokingham Borough Council councillor­s, she cut a blue ribbon to declare the new developmen­t open. She then visited a resident to see what the new homes are like.

Her visit attracted a lot of attention from neighbours, including six-day old Ted Young who was happy to give the Prime Minister a cuddle ( see front page).

He is the newest resident of the developmen­t and was proudly watched by big sister Daisy Young (18 months) and parents Robyn Beard and Sam Young.

The Prime Minister visited a second property in the councilbui­lt developmen­t of affordable homes and then made a beeline for another group of wellwisher­s: Lauren Taylor with 18-month old Taylor Croshaw and Sam Childs with Layla Rose Smith (seven months).

After cutting the ribbon, Mrs May said that Phoenix Avenue looked absolutely superb.

“It’s very good to be here today and to see the developmen­t that’s taking place here in Wokingham,” she said.

In recent weeks, Mrs May has met with Wokingham Borough Council leaders and received letters from town and parish councils expressing concern over Government housing policy, particular­ly the fiveyear-land supply, something that she acknowledg­ed in her comments.

“Housing is obviously a key issue,” she said. “There are so many people who want homes of their own, be they tenants or getting homes of their own and it’s great to see this developmen­t taking place.”

And she also joked about traffic problems caused by the regenerati­on of Wokingham’s town centre, which has seen roads closed and residents left irate over long journey times.

On a previous visit to Wokingham Borough Council’s offices at Shute End, her driver “took a wrong turn and we ended up going a very long way round to get to Shute End because of all the developmen­t work.”

Cllr David Chopping, who helped bring the scheme to life, also spoke at the launch.

“For me, this is the end of a long and winding road, but very satisfying,” he said. “We have now housed some 68 families in new homes, and are justifiabl­y proud of our achievemen­t. This is our flagship site. The first of many, all being well. It's also an example of what a council can do with initiative and adequate funding.”

Phoenix Avenue is a range of one bedroom apartments to four bedroom terraced houses. Each home has a private garden or landscaped communal area.

All properties at Phoenix Avenue are available for social and affordable rent through Wokingham Borough Council’s housing register.

The properties are built by Wokingham Homes Ltd, a council-owned company and have been nominated for the UK Housing Awards: Wokingham Borough Council has been nominated for the strategic local authority award, which focuses on the relationsh­ip between authoritie­s and partners to provide a committed approach to housing need. Meanwhile, WHL has been nominated for outstandin­g developmen­t programme of the year, which looks to recognise developers who have shown ambition, determinat­ion and innovation to deliver new homes.

And Cllr Lindsay Ferris, leader of Wokingham Liberal Democrats, praised the scheme.

He said: “I think it’s very good, it’s one of those areas that we need more of in the country, more social housing, more houses for people to move in to locally and to buy. We need more of this and let the council build council houses, so I’m very supportive.

“We need to find land in right places and have the Government allow them to be built, like they used to back in the 1950s and 60s, so many people need homes. The young families here are delighted with the properties. This is a good start. This is the sort of things that we need to do more of.

“We need to expand Wokingham Housing to be able to do that and take more of these projects on.”

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 ?? Pictures: Phil Creighton ?? Theresa May meets residents of Phoenix Avenue on Friday
Pictures: Phil Creighton Theresa May meets residents of Phoenix Avenue on Friday
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