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By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 10:07
THE FORMER Hewell Road swimming pool site could be sold off for just £1.
Housing providers will potentially be given the chance to take over the Batchley site, which closed in November 2011 ahead of the opening of the new pool at the Abbey Stadium, for the nominal sum in a bid to boost the amount of affordable housing in the borough.
The price takes into account the cost of removing the building and the asbestos work which needs to be carried out before housing could be built at the site, which is currently costing Redditch Borough Council £137 a week to secure.
Organisations including Redditch Co-Op Homes, Festival, Rooftop and Sanctuary will be able to submit an application based on criteria including the sustainability of their design and the opportunities for residents to get involved in managing the properties and choosing the fixtures and finishings.
Speaking at an executive meeting on Tuesday (February 12) where the plans were agreed, Coun Rebecca Blake said: "I think this is a fantastic thing we are trying to do. Right now we have an empty swimming baths we are paying to secure which will cost a couple of hundred thousand pounds to demolish. We might have one of the housing associations come along and put some much needed social housing on this site.
"In my mind it's a win win. If we have got small parcels of land costing us money I hope we will be bringing them forward too."
But Coun Mike Braley slammed the proposals, saying: "We have a duty to make sure we get the best value for our assets, particularly if we are disposing of them.
"If you just give it away, which it seems to me is proposed, to a housing association you have lost that asset and got nothing for it and all it does is provide some houses. If you go the other way to get the best value for it you could still have houses there."
He added he felt there were other uses for the site, which he speculated could be worth up to £750,000, including offering it to retailers such as a supermarket.
Matthew Bough, the council's housing policy and performance manager, said the £1 sum was only a 'likely figure'.
"We are transferring the site with the building still in situ which means the provider is required to demolish the site."
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