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Pool plan delays have cost town taxpayers

Redditch Editorial 13th Nov, 2014 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

DELAYS redeveloping the town’s former swimming pool site has cost taxpayers thousands of pounds.

Accord Group, which runs Redditch Co-operative Homes, has finally submitted an application for planning permission to build on the Hewell Road Swimming Pool land, almost three years after it was closed to make way for the revamped Abbey Stadium.

The organisation had intended to submit plans in June but they failed to materialise. Following extensive consultation with planners and bodies including the Environment Agency, a revised plan has now been submitted to build five two bedroom homes, a two bedroom bungalow, and 24 one bedroom flats.

Accord had hoped to begin building work in the Autumn but that will now not start until the new year, if the latest plan is given the go-head.

But until planning permission is granted Redditch Borough Council is responsible for security and other costs on the site. The council has forked out £20,139 since the pool’s closure in January 2012 with about £9,000 of that since councillors agreed to sell the site for a nominal fee of £1 to Redditch Co-operative Homes in July last year.

A spokeswoman for Accord said the plan had evolved to take into account a number of factors, particularly the need to carry out significant improvements to the Batchley Brook.

“This combined with issues relating to public footpaths has meant we had to rethink the best way to improve the local environment whilst meeting housing needs. With the revised plans we will be carrying out significant improvements to the brook and we are delighted we are able to do this whilst still maintaining the provision of a bungalow on the site and meeting the housing needs of even more Redditch people.”

She added the swimming pool building would be demolished as soon as planning permission was given.

Coun Mark Shurmer, responsible for housing on the council, added the site was challenging and complex but Accord’s plans would provide additional much-needed afford housing in the borough.

“Clearing the site and readying it for development will be very costly, so they [Accord] have had to revisit their initial thinking to ensure the site remains financially viable.” he said.

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