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Newbury - 37 affordable homes at Parkway left empty for 18 months

Started by Administrator, April 09, 2014, 01:54:40 pm

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Newbury - 37 affordable homes at Parkway left empty for 18 months

Liberal Democrats on West Berkshire Council are saying that to leave 37 desperately needed flats empty for 18 months is 'a disgrace', whoever is to blame. The flats were only built thanks to pressure from Lib Dems on the Planning Committee, who got nearly a million pounds of Council money ear-marked for 'affordable housing' passed to developers Standard Life Investments (SLI) back in 2008. Otherwise there would have been no 'affordable' (social rent) flats in the scheme, because the Council was persuaded that SLI could not afford to build them.

Housing Spokesman Cllr Tony Vickers said, on hearing that SLI have finally appointed a local housing association to manage the tenancies in these flats: "It is a disgrace that so many perfectly good new homes have been allowed to remain empty for so long.

Liberal Democrats asked the Council to 'name and shame' those responsible months ago but were told it was 'not appropriate'. We discovered that the Legal Agreement forming part of the planning permission did not oblige the developer to hand over the flats to occupants until 74 open-market apartments on the site were sold, so the Council could do nothing else."

More than 90 apartments have now been sold at 'Parkway Living'. Cllr Vickers has asked whether SLI have been paying council tax on the flats, since the exemption for empty properties was curtailed a year ago. The potential loss to Council revenues has so far been about £80,000, because Government match funds council tax on all new homes.


This whole scenario with Standard Life and West Berkshire Council is a total disgrace from beginning to end. Standard Life have been running rings round West Berks since day 1.

Lets not forget the cinema debacle where West Berks are paying the developer instead of the cinema operator and the racecourse where the new rail bridge will not be built until David Wilson homes have sold a specific number of residencies.