Affordable housing plan for Sonning Fire Station
February 09, 2010
A defunct fire station in Sonning could play a pivotal role in village life once more after the land was earmarked for affordable housing.
Sonning Volunteer Fire Brigade Trust has proposed to have the empty building in Pound Lane demolished and replaced with four new homes.
The retained station was closed in 2007 when Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services (RBFRS) pushed on with its plans to have a 24-hour crew installed in Wokingham and provide neighbouring Twyford with a new station, although this has not yet been built.
With the building standing empty ever since, the trust has drawn up plans to replace it with a scheme where affordable housing could be brought to the village.
An application was made to Wokingham Borough Council’s planning team, requesting permission to create a scheme where three of the four homes would remain under control of the trustees and made available to local people.
A design and access statement submitted with the application said: “The trustees are aware of the considerable difficulty that many local people have to find and afford single family accommodation within the village.
“As part of any proposals they would like to address this matter. The trustees wish to develop a scheme which would provide sufficient funding for and the space to allow the construction of dwellings which would be retained under the control of the trustees and made available on an affordable basis to local people.”
Malcolm Stansfield, chairman of the trustees, explained to getwokingham how the homes could be rented to key workers in the area.
“This is all for the benefit of the village,” he said.
“Any income the trust makes goes back into the village to support young people, organisations, sports groups, clubs and the school and over the years we have been able to donate considerable funds.
“We want to develop the site so it can become an asset as we are going to rent a number of smaller dwellings on the site, possibly to key workers as a main objective.
“We could have sold the land to make an investment but we prefer to make use of a wonderful opportunity for the village of Sonning to obtain properties which can be used by youth workers, nurses and even school teachers.”
Consultation about the development was carried out with neighbours of Pound Lane and the adjacent Charvil Lane prior to the submission of the planning application.
The plans have also earned praise from the Sonning and Sonning Eye Society.
Mr Stansfield said: “We have had a few comments from people but obviously you can’t please everyone.
“But in general the reaction has been positive.”
Submit your comments to the council by Wednesday, February 17.