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Housing changes are a golden opportunity
6:46pm Wednesday 28th March 2012 in Letters
Sir – The Ministry of Defence plans to build fewer houses at Carterton’s REEMA North and Central sites and release the remainder of the land for private development, indicating a drop in demand for service family accommodation.
This may be due to the MoD buying up private housing stock or because aircraft are being decommissioned next year, so there will be fewer servicemen working at RAF Brize Norton.
I fully understand the concern about servicemen living in refurbished houses, but that was always the plan for areas outside of REEMA North and Central. It’s a shame, however, as refurbishment costs are unpredictable and the result will be a compromise.
The existing houses are well beyond their design life, uncomfortable and no doubt, depressing to live in. They also spoil the town. The scope for improvement is limited.
The old-style houses are inefficiently planned. If they were rebuilt at a sensible density, there would be more prime land available for private sale.
Couldn’t some of the revenue from this land sale be used to top up the refurbishment budget and build new houses for the servicemen and their families instead? Wouldn’t that save money in the long-run? After all, the old-style houses will have to be replaced eventually.
New houses would improve the feel of the town and kick-start regeneration, which would attract shops, businesses and facilities.
The MoD wants modern, comfortable homes for servicemen, at a price it can afford; the district council wants land to allocate for private housing to meet predicted growth; Carterton Town Council wants to improve the town; and residents want the town strengthened, rather than fragmented by satellite development on the periphery, and to feel the vibrancy and buzz that comes with regeneration.
The potential to give all parties what they want lies in the 146 acres of land currently occupied by low density MoD housing.
It’s a golden opportunity to showcase localism and provide a solution that gives all parties what they need. How often does that happen? All it requires is joined-up thinking and co-operation.
Carterton deserves the best solution for its residents, servicemen included, who have not always been dealt the best hand. This will take effort, determination and collaboration but will be well worth it.
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Carterton