A new future for Dee Park starts today

Dee Park’s exciting new future has become a reality this week with a celebration to mark the completion of the first new houses and flats for affordable rent.

Representatives from Dee Park Partnership – Willmott Dixon Homes and Catalyst Housing in partnership with Reading Borough Council – and community representatives, joined the first resident to move into their accommodation during a small celebration on Friday (October 28th).

The occasion marked the completion of 24 two and three bedroom houses and also the completion of Frazer House a block of 27 one and two bedroom apartments. CRAG – Dee Park’s Community Regeneration Action Group – chose to name the new accommodation after Frazer Drury, Reading Borough Council’s former Dee Park Regeneration project manager. Frazer worked alongside DPP and CRAG for a number of years on the £150 million regeneration project, which will see the transformation of Dee Park in Tilehurst, Reading.

Frazer’s parents Joy and Ian Drury were also at the opening of Frazer House to mark the occasion with the community, which included representatives from CRAG.

Building work started just over a year ago on the regeneration to revitalise Dee Park into an attractive modern housing development suitable for 21st century living, with brand new homes and improved surroundings. 1960s flats are being replaced with brand new homes for rent and for private sale.

Over the next two years 187 affordable homes will be delivered allowing families to move into brand new homes that have been designed by HCA Architects with the help of residents. The Homes and Communities Agency, the Government’s national housing and regeneration body, is investing £14.2m in the affordable homes scheme.

The Dee Park Partnership is delivering the regeneration for Reading Borough Council.

As well as new affordable homes at Frazer House, the regeneration has so far provided brand new sport pitches for use by Ranikhet Primary School and the local community. There is also competitively priced housing for sale including starter homes for first time buyers.

The regeneration has also helped boost employment for the local community, with Dee Park Partnership offering residents of Dee Park and the surrounding area access to training and opportunities for apprenticeships and work experience on the construction site.

Speaking on behalf of Dee Park Partnership, Catalyst Housing’s chief executive Rod Cahill said:

“It’s very exciting to witness the regeneration of Dee Park become a reality, and to see residents who have lived in dated 1960s flats move into new homes that they’ve helped to design. This is what this regeneration is all about: building a better future for Dee Park. This is just the beginning – we are here for the long haul to be the catalyst that creates a better community. Our support for Dee Park residents groups is already helping to provide everything from summer fairs and glee clubs to training and employment opportunities for the local community. I look forward to the continued transformation of Dee Park over the coming years.”

Councillor Jo Lovelock, chair of the Dee Park Board and leader of Reading Borough Council said:

“This has been an emotional moment in the regeneration process – one of the main reasons for this project is to get people out of old 1960s concrete flats into new homes fit for the 21st Century. To see the first people actually moving in, really is turning the vision into a reality after all the years of planning. It is a tribute to everyone who has worked on the regeneration. It is also great to see the community wanting to thank Frazer Drury who put so much into the scheme while he was the project officer – a much deserved legacy.”

Norma Sinclair, chair of CRAG (Community Regeneration Action Group), said: “The journey from the first meetings until now seems like a lifetime ago. Despite hours of work, never ending rounds of meetings, training sessions and concerns that this adventure would never be delivered, here we are at Frazer House and the first tenants are now in residence.

“CRAG, when choosing the name Frazer House, did so in recognition of the work and support given by Frazer Drury to the CRAG and indeed the whole project. We also wish to thank DPP.

“I feel sure that the Duchess of Kent who originally opened the Dee Road estate all those years ago, would agree that these new homes are so much better. They offer the families so much and on behalf of CRAG, I wish each and every one of them good luck and much happiness in their new homes.”

Peter Jones, HCA head of area, said:

“This is great news as it will see much-needed new homes delivered in Reading. Our local team has worked closely with DPP over recent months to ensure that the scheme brings the maximum benefit for local people. But in many ways, the hard work starts now and we’ll be focused on ensuring that people in Reading see the benefits of our investment over the next few years.”