New major housing scheme gets borough council go-ahead

First published in News
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A RUN-DOWN housing estate will be razed to the ground this summer as part of a major regeneration project.

Sentinel Housing Association’s proposal to demolish 90 homes at Taverner Close, Freemantle Close, and Westray Close, in Oakridge, was unanimously approved by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council planning chiefs last Wednesday.

Sentinel will build 190 homes on the 7.1-hectare site made up of 72 one and two-bedroom flats, and 118 two, three, and four-bedroom houses, for people on the borough’s 6,000-strong housing register.

Mike Shepherd, development and regeneration director at Sentinel, told the council’s development control committee: “The scheme makes a very important contribution to affordable housing, which is in desperate need in Basingstoke.”

Local Labour councillors, Norden’s Paul Harvey, Laura James, and George Hood, have all given their backing to the regeneration scheme.

Speaking for the group, Cllr Harvey said: “This is a huge project for Sentinel. We understand the scale of investment they (Sentinel) are making to our community and we welcome and support it.

“They are taking a financial and planning risk doing this, and again that cannot be under-estimated.

“When you stand back and look at what is being proposed, as a whole this is a hugely positive proposal.”

Concerns have been raised about the loss of the 3.4-hectare playing field which backs on to the estate. However, Sentinel will provide 2.75 hectares of open space, as well as funding £500,000 worth of neighbourhood improvements.

Cllr Harvey added: “This proposal, we accept, means losing 25 per cent of the field. That is a large amount of open space in our ward and that is a worry for us.

“But we also have a need for affordable housing. There is a balance here that we recognise and an opportunity for the whole community to make improvements that will benefit a larger part of our ward.”

After receiving the go-ahead from the committee, Mr Shepherd said: “We’re delighted that our planning proposal for the regeneration of these outdated blocks, in the Freemantle, Taverner and Westray area, has been approved.

“We’re confident that this regeneration will lift the whole neighbourhood, improving quality of life for residents and making much better use of the space available for the entire community.”


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