Wokingham Today

Conservati­ves pledge a rent to buy scheme if re-elected


WOKINGHAM’S Conservati­ves are pledging to introduce a new Rent To Buy scheme for first time buyers.

The ambitious new scheme is a flagship policy in the party’s manifesto for Wokingham’s local elections, which will be held on Thursday, May 3.

Under the plans, prospectiv­e first-time buyers to use part of their Council rent towards a deposit to buy their own home.

The proposal was unveiled at the launch of its manifesto, held at The Oakwood Centre in Woodley last night.

The party said that introducin­g the policy was a must due to the high rents across the borough, making it hard for people to get a foot on the property ladder.

David Lee, Executive Member for Strategic Highways and Planning and a candidate in Norreys Ward, said of the policy in the party’s manifesto: “We are committed to addressing the problem of the need for affordable homes, particular­ly for our younger residents.”

Other policies set out in the manifesto include:

Stopping inappropri­ate developmen­t across the Borough by working with residents and town and parish councils to fight planning applicatio­ns in unsustaina­ble locations

Helping more residents have their own homes by creating a Self-Build programme

Investing £124million to develop major new roads to meet the demands of new and existing residents

Enabling schools and colleges to be central to communitie­s by enhancing the shared use of their resources, such as halls, sports facilities, etc.

Opening Ryeish Green Leisure facilities later this year, demolishin­g and rebuilding an enhanced Bulmershe Leisure Centre, and rebuilding an enhanced Carnival Pool Leisure Centre by 2020.

On the issue of developmen­t, Mr Lee said: “Wokingham Borough continues to face issues with developers seeking ever higher numbers of planning permission­s for new houses, when they haven’t built the homes they already have permission for.

“This ‘land banking’ means that the Planning Inspector is forcing us to build homes in places that aren’t sustainabl­e. We continue to press the Government to change planning rules so that the more than 9,000 permission­s granted by the Council are taken into account during planning appeals.”

Wokingham Conservati­ves are also pledging to invest in alternativ­es to car journeys to help with some of the issues that face commuters in the borough.

On the environmen­t, it is pledging to increase the range of plastics that can be recycled and is pledging to improve grass cutting in informal play areas around the borough.

And Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, Leader of the Council and the Conservati­ve Group, said: “The Conservati­ve administra­tion at Wokingham Borough Council delivers high quality, efficient services that protect our most vulnerable and promote equality of opportunit­y.

“We don’t waste your money – instead, we listen to you and invest in the things you say are most important. Thanks to a Conservati­ve council, our borough continues to be one of the best places to live and raise a family in the UK.

“Our manifesto shows how we have delivered, and will continue to deliver, the best for Wokingham norough.”

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