The proposals, which are overwhelmingly supported by Abri’s customers, will see the existing buildings demolished and 413 high-quality affordable homes built, both on the existing site and on open space adjacent, transferred to Abri by RBWM.
All of the new homes will be affordable housing (either through reprovision of existing social rented homes, affordable rent or shared ownership) in a mix of apartments, maisonettes and houses. Every Abri household at Sawyers Close is guaranteed one of the new properties and, by building an additional 221 homes, Abri can also help many more people in housing need in RBWM.
The homes that are planned will respond directly to the aspirations of Abri’s customers: lower energy costs, more storage and private amenity space for everyone.
Stephen Lodge, Abri’s Executive Director Development and Strategic Asset Management said: “We are extremely pleased that the Royal Borough has agreed to back our plans. Over the past couple of years, we have worked closely with the community at Sawyers Close, with their local councillors and with officers at RBWM to make sure that what we plan to deliver meets the future needs of our customers.
“A community is about more than just bricks and mortar. We want to help Sawyers Close to become a thriving, inclusive, sustainable place for people to live. Our plans for a new community centre and play space are designed to bring the wider community together to enjoy everything that Sawyers Close will have to offer.
“Thanks to the transfer of additional land by the council, we can also build safe, warm homes for many more in housing need in the local area. Tonight’s decision is very positive but there’s still so much more to do before we can start on site.”
Councillor Catherine del Campo, Cabinet member for adults, health and housing services at RBWM said: “Through working closely with Abri, we have agreed significantly more social rented homes at this redevelopment than is required under planning policy – 199 of the 413 units will be social rents. Of these, 167 will replace existing social housing units, and 32 additional homes will be set at social rent levels for the duration of the first tenancy/first five years.
“This shows how the council is committed to working with our partners to address the local housing challenge residents face, to improve access to quality, genuinely affordable housing and to improve quality of life for all, including our most vulnerable residents. This planning decision will pave the way for major investment in additional and improved social housing in Windsor. I would like to recognise the significant community engagement Abri has undertaken to involve residents in shaping the proposals and keep them updated, which I would like to see continue as this project progresses to its next stages.”
To help create a thriving, sustainable community, Abri’s plans also include a range of facilities, available not just to Sawyers Close residents but to the wider community as well. These include a new community centre, a cycle hub where people will be able to maintain their own bicycles or hire out e-bikes, and a transplanted community orchard and garden. The existing play area is also proposed to be relocated and upgraded or a new play area to be constructed as a multi-age play area with the financial contribution for future maintenance provided by Abri.
Councillor Helen Price, Clewer & Dedworth East Ward (RBWM), said: “I am thrilled that last night the Sawyers Close Development was approved by the Planning Committee. I spoke in favour. The new development has taken on board Sawyers Close residents’ concerns and preferences and the resulting plan is exceptional in its design. It is now up to RBWM to ensure that the associated infrastructure, e.g. getting around is put in place. This is at least a six-year building programme so there is time. As Ward Councillor I will be pushing hard to ensure this gets on the Capital programme.”
Following the council’s resolution to grant planning permission, Abri is now able to develop more detailed construction plans and procure partners to help build the new homes which it hopes to start next year. Abri will continue to work with residents and stakeholders to ensure their views continue to shape the ongoing delivery of the project.