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£600,000 revamp for houses like cells
Buy this photo » Coun Richard Hurley, left, and Coun Dale Heenan at St Ives Court
SWINDON Council has revealed £600,000 plans to improve a supported housing unit which has been the focus of anti-social behaviour and crime.
The 2013/14 budget earmarks the cash from the housing revenue account – funded by council tenants’ rents – to enhance St Ives Court, in Tyneham Road, Nythe, which contains 38 one-bedroom flats and bedsits.
Coun Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Dorcan) said about six years ago, the unit, which provides short-term accommodation for homeless families with support needs, had provoked complaints about anti-social behaviour, such loud music, as well as crime.
He said the situation had improved due to better management by council officers and the way in which the council had approached the issues with the police and other parties.
But he said it currently looks like a 1970s prison block.
Following a feasibility study by consultant Eric Cole Ltd, which produced six possible options, Swindon Council plans to consult the public on a preferred option that includes the addition of a new pitched roof and covering to improve the lifespan and appearance of the building.
It also includes new landscaping, replacement windows, new fencing, the removal of the smoking area/cycle store, extension of the green areas, the provision of a new cycle enclosure and a larger play area.
Coun Heenan said: “The building does look like a 1970s brick wall and it’s in a residential area. It doesn’t fit in at all.
“For the last couple of years I have been pushing to see lots of improvement work to sort that out and this is the result.
“It should improve the whole area and not just the building because it also backs onto the Nythe shopping parade. It’s a very visible building.”
Coun Richard Hurley (Con, Covingham and Dorcan), who is also cabinet member for public protection, housing and Street-smart (delivery), said: “It looks a bit tired.
“It needs updating a little bit and once it’s done it’s going to be better for the residents in that area.
“It has had a bit of a reputation in the past and the sooner it is updated the better.”
The consultation is hoped to take place in the spring, with work starting during the summer, providing planning permission is obtained
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