Clash over Garrison homes' plansBy Alice Murphy
July 06, 2009
Debate continues to rage over how many homes should be built at Arborfield Garrison in the next 20 years.
Wokingham Borough Council has earmarked the site for 3,500 homes as part of its core strategy, which sets out where 13,500 new homes will be built in Wokingham.
The ruling Conservatives have backed the figure, however Wokingham Liberal Democrats have argued following an executive committee meeting last Thursday the number should be increased to 5,000 homes.
The issue was raised after Councillor Mike Gore, Tory member for Arborfield, quizzed the executive about plans for the Garrison during the meeting.
Cllr Gore said: “The core strategy has plans to build 3,500 houses in my area and when I attended the examination in public, the developers were pressing for more houses. Can you comment on this?”
Cllr Gary Cowan, executive member for planning, transport and the environment, said building more than 3,500 homes would make the housing “squashed together with no gardens and no car parking spaces and it’s likely to cause problems”.
He added: “We will fight tooth and nail to stop such extremes.”
The core strategy proposes four major development sites, with two in Wokingham town, one to the south of the M4 near Three Mile Cross, and the other at Arborfield Garrison.
The Lib Dems argue if the extra 1,500 homes they would earmark for Arborfield were divided between the three other planned sites, the infrastructure would suffer.
They say the houses in Arborfield would encourage a sense of community.
Lib Dem leader Cllr Prue Bray said: “Under the Tory plan, they’re having to cram 1,500 extra houses into Wokingham town instead of Arborfield, which will put huge pressure on our already congested roads, and all the other services.”
A Government inspector’s final decision on the core strategy is expected in the autumn.