BATTLE residents have made health and education their top two priorities for the cash windfall released by developers in the wake of a controversially scrapped health centre.

A public consultation was launched in March and April quizzing neighbours about what they wanted to spend the £1.55m section 106 cash on, after developers David Wilson Homes released the money from the collapsed deal for a health clinic at the West Village in Oxford Road.

Around 6,000 questionnaires were sent out and 349 residents responded, with 69% choosing health and wellbeing and 54% voting for education as their top two priorities.

Reading Borough Council leader Jo Lovelock said a new steering group will be announced on Monday to analyse the responses and decide where to invest the cash.

She added: “It has been a really good consultation with a wide range of responses and when you dig down into what people are saying the community expects us to spend it on a lot of things.”

A total of 179 comments requested new or improved health facilities to ease the strain on over-subscribed GPs in west Reading, but Cllr Lovelock ruled out investing in current facilities because the cash cannot be used on private properties.

She said: “People listed a lot of things that not only improve their quality of life but help them exercise and stay healthy. We need to dig down into this and spend this money wisely but work in partnership with others to improve things.”

A further 47% of residents said they wanted improved green spaces or children’s play parks, supported by a petition signed by 298 people from the Oxford Road Children’s Centre requesting a community hub in or near the West Village - the development on the Battle Hospital site.

Cllr Lovelock insisted all the options would be considered and added: “The consultation has thrown up a whole load of issues that are important to residents which are different from the original consultation seven years ago.

“The people who responded were very engaged with how they would like the whole environment improved.”