A historic pool swimming could become key worker housing for teachers, nurses, police and social workers.

The former Arthur Hill swimming pool site, on Kings Road, will become affordable housing for key workers across Reading if proposals are agreed next week. 

The locally listed front of the building would be retained under the plans and 15 new flats could be available for rent as soon as spring 2022.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of RBC, said: “We know key public workers like teachers, nurses, police and social workers all struggle to find affordable homes to rent in Reading.

“These are the people who provide vital public services for our town, but extortionate rental prices have a major knock on effect on recruitment for schools, hospitals, the police force and the council.

“This is an important and imaginative proposal which makes best use of a vacant site by offering affordable flats to rent at 80 per cent of the market price for key public workers.

“It is close to a number of important employment sites, including the town centre and the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

“It also provides the quickest solution – a planning application could be determined as early as spring and the flats could be available to rent just two years after a grant of permission."

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Arthur Hill closed in December 2016 and was put up for sale in January last year.

One Of A Kind (OOAK) Developments successfully bid to purchase the pool, but in July the sale collapsed after talks broke down.

More than 1,800 have signed a petition calling on the council to consult the people of Reading on the future of the pool.

Peter Burt of the Arthur Hill Campaign said: “It’s extremely disappointing that the council has decided to ignore the views of over 1800 local residents.

“Reading’s ‘we-know-best’ Labour councillors seem determined to repeat the mistakes they have already made over Arthur Hill and – quite

literally – have decided to bulldoze through their own badly thought out plans for the site.

“Although there is a need for affordable housing in Reading, the Arthur Hill site is a poor location to build new homes, beside a highly congested main road with some of the worst air pollution in the country.

“The council doesn’t seem to have twigged that closing down sporting and leisure facilities like Arthur Hill has had a dramatic impact of the lives of far more local people than the lucky half-dozen who would live in any new flats at Arthur Hill.

“Reopening Arthur Hill would be a cheaper, more viable, and more popular option than taking away parkland at Palmer Park to build a new swimming pool.

“This would free up money to build the new 50 metre competition pool that Reading swimmers really want.

“Labour has already lost one seat in Redlands ward as a result of its failure to listen to local people over Arthur Hill, and can expect to lose more support and council seats if it goes ahead with plans to bulldoze Arthur Hill Pool.”

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The estimated cost of developing the site for key worker affordable housing would be £4.55 million.

The plans will be considered at a meeting of the council’s Policy committee on Thursday, September 26.