Plans to transform Eustace Crescent into "flagship community"By Jon Nurse
November 22, 2012
Campaigners hope plans to transform ‘Useless Crescent’ into a ‘flagship community’ will reduce problems on the estate.
Dozens of families from Norreys welcomed designs to revitalise the run-down flats in Eustace Crescent at Norreys Community Forum on Thursday.
The forum was the first time neighbours got to see four designs for the buildings, which range from 67 to 91 homes with varying amounts of green space.
The current three- and four-storey blocks of flats will soon be demolished, and neighbours joked they would like a viewing platform set up so they can sip Champagne as the flats fall.
Trevor Roberts, 56, of Whaley Road, said: “I hope this is the start of fewer problems in the estate.
“We have the four-storey flats overlooking us now and some of the language that comes from it is atrocious. I was hoping there would be no flats, but in general it’s going to be better.”
Architect Charles Scott, of Sheppard Robson, presented plans for a re-named build that would “create a flagship community for the future”.
A preferred option has 76 units – 52 houses and 24 flats – with a central area of three-storey buildings with ground floor flats complete with rear gardens and two-storey flats above them with roof terraces.
Sceptical residents said there had been talk of the flats coming down for years. But borough council leader Councillor David Lee said: “This is happening.
“It won’t be two years before the work starts – we can’t afford to keep them empty.”
Mark Wanstall, 29, of Norreys Avenue, said: “I like the park area in the fourth [preferred] option that opens the divide in the community.
“There would no longer be a sense of our side and their side.
“I like the mixture of houses and flats, and hopefully more houses will bring more families into the community.”
The designs are due to go on display in January.
Members of the Norreys Community Association (NCA) were pleased by the plans and used the meeting to share their passion for a new community facility to be built in the area.
NCA chairman Lydia Cranham, 55, of Norreys Avenue, said: “With the developments coming up we’re going to lose our community flat – to me that is quite a shame.
“As the community is growing we need something, 99.9 per cent of people want it and would use it in the Norreys ward.”
Residents also used the forum to raise a number of issues, including expressing a continued need for the 121 bus service, which is being reviewed by the borough council.
There were some complaints that some buses never turn up and that communication has not been good as the route to the town centre was changed during waterworks. Traffic chaos on the estate caused by diversions last month was blasted by a number of frustrated residents
Josie Wragg, Wokingham Borough Council’s head of strategic partner-ships, said she hopes lessons would be learned before diversions are set up during development in the future, and said a focus group could be created.
Lou Barker, 31, of Mylne Square, said: “The damage has been done. The people that didn’t know the route through Norreys now know it, so it doesn’t matter where they put a diversion [in the future] – they won’t follow it.”