Sixty new flats for elderly

THE next phase of an ambitious plan to provide more affordable homes in Woking is to take a step forward with a 60-flat residential sheltered housing scheme in Old Woking for residents aged 65 and over.

The flats will be on the site of the former Ian Allan Motors dealership at 63-65 High Street.

PRIORITIES – Cllr David Bittleston

There is already planning permission for 24 houses but Woking Borough Council, which bought the land for £3.75 million last year, will seek to have that amended.

The planning application will be submitted by the end of April, with building to begin within a few months after that. They are expected to be completed by the end of next year as part of a plan to provide 180 sheltered units in the borough for rents of 50% to 60% of market value.

Cllr David Bittleston, the council leader, said: “With an aging population, it is vital that we make the right investments now to meet our future housing needs for our older residents. Once complete, the scheme will enhance our existing portfolio of housing options available to older people.”

“Ideally situated in the heart of Old Woking, the scheme will offer a real sense of community and unrivalled access to local amenities including shops and services, as well as in the long-term creating local jobs for local people.

Cllr Bittleston said that providing affordable housing was among the council’s top priorities.

Extra homes would be provided for the young as well as the elderly.

“If we don’t solve the housing crisis we will possibly have a rebellion from among the young,” he said.

There are various schemes in the pipeline as well as initiatives such as Greenwood House that opened in 2016 above the new fire station in Goldsworth Road. It consists of 33 flats costing less than £100 a week for “key workers” in the borough.

The flats, named after former mayor Bill Greenwood, is intended to help key workers to save up for a deposit for a home of their own.

Other plans include mixed housing developments with some for rent and other for sale.

Cllr Bittleston said that the number of council houses in Woking more than halved after the  the right to buy scheme was introduced.

He said that investment had improved since the debt on council housing was passed by central government to local authorities.

Not only had the council paid off the debt but it also spent £5 million a year on renovations and improvements.

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