Group declares war on plans for thousands of homesBy Victoria Corbett
September 16, 2009
An action group has been launched to save the town’s green space as the deadline to have a say on plans for thousands of homes looms.
Wokingham Area Residents Action Group (WARAG) has been set up to fight developments planned for the north and south of Wokingham town on green space.
Residents were prompted to act after developer David Wilson Homes held a public exhibition of its plans for land off London Road to build 650 homes in a development known as Buckhurst Park and a relief road connecting London Road with Finchampstead Road.
This would be the first phase in the development for south Wokingham, which would have a total of 2,500 homes by 2026 under Wokingham Borough Council proposals.
The council is awaiting the final say on its core strategy, which proposes where more than 13,000 homes will be build over the next few years, from a planning inspector who oversaw an examination in public earlier this year.
The council has also proposed building at Aborfield Garrison and on land near the M4.
The north Wokingham site, which would have 1,500 homes, is located to the north of Cantley Park in Twyford Road and south of the A329M.
Nina Bell-Williamson, of Waterloo Road, is a founder member of WARAG, which has 40 members, and wants the green space near her home maintained.
She said: “If this is built upon Wokingham will lose its identity and merge with Bracknell.
“The roads leading to the new estate are single-laned windy roads, not really suitable for the increase in traffic this will produce.”
She added: “We are not just concerned with the building on this land, but all the sites around Wokingham, but consider Buckhurst Park to be the most significant as this is the first and if this goes ahead it is likely the others will follow suit.
“Also the building of the relief road through Buckhurst Park will ensure the building of the other sites.
“We wish to join up with other groups in the area to unit and be a collective Wokingham Area Residents Action Group.”
If the inspector approves the core strategy and it is adopted, residents have little chance of preventing housing being built on these sites, however their views on the designs of the sites are being sought by the council.
Exhibitions on the four sites are taking place until next month at locations including Wokingham Town Hall in Market Place, the civic offices in Shute End, Arborfield Village Hall in Eversley Road and Shinfield Parish Hall.
Information gathered from the public during this time is being used to create masterplans for the four development sites.
The overall housing numbers have been imposed by central government as part of the South East Plan.
Councillor Gary Cowan, executive member for local and regional planning, said: “Once these masterplans are adopted by the council, any planning applications submitted within the four sites will have to conform to what’s in them.
“This is why it’s so important that local people take the opportunity now to give their views and help shape our communities of the future.”
There is also a public meeting planned to discuss another relief road planned for the north Wokingham site. This will take place on Tuesday, September 22. People must register to attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit www.wokingham.gov.uk.