FUNDING of more than £7m for two major and 'desperately needed' housing projects has been approved by Westminster.

A successful application from Reading Borough Council will allow the third phase of Dee Park regeneration to gather momentum, providing a further 190 new homes.

The project has already delivered more than 500 new homes to the area and funding of £6m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Meanwhile, plans to replace Central Pool with 89 housing units will help the council meet demand for the 700 new homes required every year.

Council leader Jo Lovelock said: “This is yet another example of the council bidding for external funding, which will help provide new homes to at least start to ease the housing situation in Reading.

“The council is delighted that it has been successful in its two separate bids, which will help facilitate desperately needed housing in Reading.

“It will also play a key role in helping to deliver the third phase of the regeneration of Dee Park.

“The council would also like to make clear that this is ring fenced funding and can only be spent on these two projects, rather than on other council services.”

Central Pool closed to the public on January 31 due to cost pressures and a new demountable pool was installed in an effort to fill the void.

Funding of £1.3m will be used to prepare the current Central Pool site for future housing developments.

Demolition works started in September in Tilehurst to remove six blocks of flats to make way for the project, which includes a new community centre.

Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West added: “It is great news that Dee Park regeneration has been allocated £6m from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to support local work in my Reading West constituency.

“We can help ensure we build the homes people need more quickly. This funding could lead to up to 190 homes being delivered by 2022.”

Both projects form part of the council's Local Plan for housing, which includes a blueprint for the next two decades.