Investment set for new car parks, flood scheme and affordable homes

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

The council has prioritised affordable housing, new car parks and a River Thames flood scheme as part of its investments for the coming year.

Part of the council’s budget every year is the capital programme – money for long-term projects including highways upgrades, investments in education or flood prevention strategies.

For 2022/23, more than £55m is allotted for these expenditures.

The council is looking at ‘new money for new schemes of major importance’ budgeted at nearly £24m.

These projects include making 1,000 new affordable homes, plus new car parks at Broadway and Vicus Way.

St Edmunds will provide a 100 per cent affordable housing scheme with four one-bed flats for social rent and 10 two-bed flats for shared ownership. 

A borough spokesman said:

"From a housing perspective, we are currently reviewing our allocations policy, which will include the key worker criteria and accommodation options to ensure we are catering for this section of the population."

A larger capital spend is being made in adults, health and housing this year – which largely relate to the costs of refurbishing John West House, which helps people sleeping rough to get into long-term accommodation.

The gross spend in the sector is set to be £1,985,000, compared to £1,318,000 last year.

A borough spokesman said:

“John West House was successful in securing capital funding for refurbishment of the building which will be redeveloped to provide a space focused on supporting people out of homelessness, in particular those who have experienced complex trauma.

“The centre will provide supported accommodation along with a range of facilities.

“(These) will enable delivery of strength-based key work sessions from a range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies.”

£10million is also going on flood prevention measures in the ‘most vulnerable’ parts of the borough, including Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury and Old Windsor.

The council has come under fire previously for pulling out of the River Thames Scheme, which would have seen a collaboration construct of several flood relief channels running through several local authorities.

There are also plans to improve the capacity of the A308/Holyport Road junction, costing £300,000 – the A308 has been subject to many discontented comments by Bray residents in particular.

Some other schemes include:

  • £2million for structural work on Cookham Bridge which is ‘in need of TLC’
  • A scheme to ‘significantly upgrade’ Ascot High Street, £200,000
  • ‘Major’ footway construction and maintenance, including adding disabled crossing points and works to ‘enhance visual appearance’, costing £250,000
  • £400,000 each for a highway drainage scheme and investment into leisure centres equipment and performance improvements.

W Equip and furnish pop up libraries in Sunningdale, Holyport and Furze Platt, costing around £46,000.

In a report, the Borough said the council faces ‘some tough choices’ between competing priorities.

Among these is whether to borrow money to develop council assets to create long term revenue streams, or whether to sell them to help to reduce borrowing costs.

The total cost funded from borrowing will be about £41.8million.

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