£23m revamp for Swindon ‘gateway’ to bring more homes

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George Gay Gardens in Queen's Drive, Swindon

A ‘GATEWAY’ into Swindon will benefit from a £23m regeneration project, with building of new homes set to start in 12 months.

Under the plans, 122 non-traditionally built council homes will be demolished and replaced with 160 new modern properties along Queen’s Drive.

The proposed regeneration sites include sheltered housing accommodation George Gay Gardens, the area south of Wolsely Road and St Ives Court in Tyneham Road and would be included in three phases.

It forms part of Swindon Borough Council’s Pledge 7, to build more affordable homes including 200 council homes and 66 units through the Affordable Housing Development programme.

All three council-owned sites require significant investment, with George Gay Gardens deemed no longer fit for purpose.

The proposed demolition of the 50 flats at the sheltered housing scheme would provide the council with the opportunity to build an extra-care facility which would support people with dementia to live as independently as possible.

Alternatively, the site could be used as a mixed tenure residential housing scheme.

The second phase of the regeneration would involve building 10 homes for sale on the site of the current St Ives Court, which would then provide the funding for phase three of the scheme.

The third phase of the development would see the demolition of 36 flats at the T-Blocks that face onto Queen’s Drive, south of Wolsely Road.

The clearing of the site would allow 90 new homes to be built.

Construction is likely to start from late 2017 and take place up until 2020.

The council’s Housing Revenue Account would replace rented units, and use income from selling additional units to help pay for them. The rest of the cost will come from borrowing against the future rental income.

The new development, approved by Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet earlier this month, would include an improved public realm and follows on from the soon-to-be-completed £9.6m Sussex Place development, which is providing just under 50 new homes.

The council currently has six affordable housing schemes, including Sussex Place, either underway or soon to start which will provide a mix of affordable rented accommodation, keyworker homes or housing for people with mobility or care needs.

Coun Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: “Sussex Place is a great example of how regeneration can transform a neighbourhood and I look forward to seeing similar improvements being made further along Queen’s Drive.

“The regeneration scheme will breathe new life into this part of Swindon, bringing jobs and replacing outdated and expensive to maintain older housing with modern accommodation, which will be of huge benefit to our tenants.

“It is great that we are replacing and improving our housing stock with affordable housing not just at this Queen’s Drive location but at half a dozen other sites across the town in line with our pledge to build more affordable homes in Swindon.”

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