Traffic fears spark rebellion against plans for 2,500 homes
October 12, 2010
Fears one of the main roads into Wokingham will become clogged with traffic if a mini-town is built have led town councillors to reject blueprints for the new homes.
The final decision on the first phase of plans to build 2,500 homes on land south of Wokingham town centre off London Road rests with Wokingham Borough Council.
However, Wokingham Town Council has delivered its verdict on the proposal, known as Buckhurst Park, raising a formal objection over concerns of the impact on London Road.
Town councillors also called on the developer, David Wilson Homes, to complete new roads to alleviate pressure on the town’s traffic before house building begins.
Members of the town council’s planning committee also commented on the fact the borough’s housing plan, known as the Core Strategy, was up in the air while the borough council decided whether to review the housing target for the next 15 years.
The council could opt to review the 12,500 homes target it was given by the Labour Government under new powers announced by the new coalition Government. However, Councillor David Lee, leader of the council, has warned the borough could end up with more housing if it launches a formal review.
This week, the developer behind the planning application for the first 650 homes, was quick to point out the council is due to make a decision on its housing targets by October 21. This is before the deadline for a decision on Buckhurst Park by the borough council.
A spokesman for David Wilson Homes said: “David Wilson Homes has worked closely with Wokingham Council on these plans for Buckhurst Park and the decision about the future of the town’s housing numbers and locations will be taken in October – before the application is considered.
“Whilst the Core Strategy process has been delayed slightly, we, along with Wokingham Council, recognise that new housing is needed and that’s why so much time and effort has been put into choosing the right locations for this growth.
“Buckhurst Park is the first stage of the approved South Wokingham development area and we are committed to delivering the necessary infrastructure for which we have submitted a detailed delivery plan to the council.”
Councillor Chris Singleton, chairman of the town council’s planning committee, said when roads reach 90 per cent capacity it causes an “unacceptable delay”, however London Road is expected to reach 100 per cent capacity with the south Wokingham development.
The plans for south Wokingham include a southern relief road to link London Road with Finchampstead Road.
They also include a country park, however Priest Avenue Residents’ Association (PARA) has said it asked the borough council to move the country park from the south east to the north west of the estate.
Paul Major, chairman of PARA, said moving the country park to land adjacent to Clay Lane and London Road would be a “win-win situation for old and potential new residents”.
He said although initially there had been support from the council for PARA’s proposal, the group was later told this was not possible.
Mr Major added: “Another example of Wokingham Borough Council ignoring the wishes of the people is that 2,600 letters were sent to the council by Wokingham residents in September 2008 saying the residents opposed the Core Strategy that would surround Wokingham with houses.
“The last government imposed housing targets on the council, so the council had to comply. However, the new government has advised that core strategies should reflect local people’s aspirations and decisions.
“Perhaps the council should ask for residents’ views so they can comply with the new government’s advice.”
The council’s executive committee will meet on Thursday, October 21, to make a final decision on the housing targets.