At our last Executive Committee meeting (Tuesday 14 August 2018) the Conservative-led administration on Redditch Borough Council put forward changes to the plans around the regeneration of Redditch town centre. There are two major changes:
- The idea of building a £12m new Town Hall at the back of Smallwood Hospital is over – there will be no ‘office district’ in this location as there is no longer evidence to support it.
- The idea of turning our Town Hall into flats is taken off the table – instead we will look to converting the Town Hall into the central ‘public services hub’ that the £12m project above was going to address. It will be significantly cheaper to host the ‘hub’ in an existing building and the Town Hall is massive and very suitable to the task.
I voted in favour of these plans. This means there is no realistic prospect of the Town Hall being turned into flats. You only have to look at Threadneedle House next door and the array of ‘To Let’ signs on the side of the building to see the demand for housing in this location is very low right now.
I sincerely hope the market picks up for the properties in Threadneedle House. The apartments were done to a high standard and deserve to be loved as homes for people. The last thing they need is competition from another 100+ flats in the building right next door.
What’s the Redditch Conservative Plan for Housing in the Town Centre?
It’s simple: we will do our bit to unlock the housing market in Redditch by building more council houses on more sites, giving Redditch people an opportunity to live in a safe, quality and affordable place they can call home.
We have already stated that we are going to build a lot of council homes. Exactly how many and where is going to be revealed in due course and according to the proper democratic process, but it won’t be difficult to build more than Labour did in the 6 years they ran council. That’s because the Labour-run council built zero council homes in their time. Not one.
So the next time you hear Labour in Redditch bang on about building homes for all the homeless people in the town, and the families and the doctors and nurses who need them – just remember, they didn’t build a single one in six years.
When it comes to residential accommodation in our town centre we believe the best answer is build homes where people want to live, not to convert a 1980s Town Hall into a block of flats and ‘shove’ people into them, killing off our Palace Theatre in the process. This means building desirable properties in desirable locations, and it means working with partners to ensure people have the one thing socialists hate: freedom to choose.