Councillor Renard’s Swindon Advertiser column, 21st December 2017

Although some of us are busy with Christmas preparations, the Council’s work continues. While we have many exciting schemes in hand across the town, for once I am able to mark an achievement that is just down the road.

New homes in Euclid Terrace

Councillor David Renard, Leader of the Council

We have nearly completed seven new homes in Euclid Street, a few hundred metres away from the Civic Offices, which have been marketed as Euclid Terrace, which are the first to be built by the Council under my Administration’s plans. We have taken deposits for all of them and there is even a waiting list should anyone drop out.  I have had a tour of these houses, which were designed by the Borough Architect, and it was easy to see how the empty rooms could be used when people start to move in.

Our aim through this scheme is to create a virtuous cycle of building new homes, raising some additional revenue to help pay for Council services by selling them, and then building some more.  In addition to the revenue from sales, these homes will also bring more Council Tax income and, while it lasts, government support through the New Homes Bonus.  As well as creating revenue, these new homes will reduce some of the Council’s costs as there will be unused sites that we no longer have to maintain or secure.

While the largest part of this programme is to build houses for sale, we are keenly aware of the need to provide affordable housing, too.  That is why we also have several proposals to build new houses for rent.

Alongside these, we also know that there are residents who would like to downsize from family homes to something more manageable, which is why we will also be building bungalows.  These will be designed to be adaptable so that elderly residents can live in the neighbourhoods they do now for as long as possible.  In doing so, not only will we be helping to ensure people’s quality of life does not diminish, but we will also help reduce demand for adult social services.

More new homes

Early next year we should see the completion of 24 assisted living bungalows at the Hawthorns, Gorse Hill and another six at Bembridge Close, Park North.  We are building five assisted living homes in Sycamore Grove, Gorse Hill, 14 flats on Cranmore Avenue, Park South and 14 homes on the former British Legion Site in Penhill.

All this activity by the Council is to augment the work being undertaken by many private sector developers across the Borough and none of the work I have mentioned even touches on Wichelstowe or the New Eastern Villages.  I hope to update you all about progress on these, soon.

Finally, may I wish you all a Merry Christmas!