Benefits highlighted for 650 homes plans at Buckhurst FarmBy Victoria Smith
April 04, 2012
A new primary school, country park, allotments, and dementia care facilities could be built in Wokingham under plans for 650 homes due to be debated tonight.
The proposal for Buckhurst Farm in London Road is recommended for approval by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee, following two years of negotiations between planning officers and developer David Wilson Homes.
If it wins approval to build the housing, the developer will be asked to pay around £30,000 per home, or £19.5 million, on improving local roads, schools and facilities.
The project would also create new jobs locally, with a commitment by David Wilson Homes to offer five-year apprenticeship and graduate trainee roles, as well as employ local businesses for construction.
The plan represents a first for the borough, as it is the only proposal to build large-scale housing on land earmarked for development by the council to win support from planning officers.
The council is fighting planning applications for land to the north of Wokingham town and land to the south of the M4 near Three Mile Cross, as they do not conform to the council’s vision for the proposed mini-towns.
The 650 homes will be the first phase in a 2,500 home development, which forms part of the council’s Core Strategy vision for future development.
Key features of the plan include:
- A free car club for residents for the first three years. The scheme will involve a partnership with a car hire firm, which will allow residents to hire a car for periods as short as one hour.
The developer hopes this will mean fewer residents need a car.
- A country park featuring a community orchard and allotment.
- A neighbourhood centre.
- A new primary school and multi-use games are with playing fields.
- A new southern distributor road, featuring a bridge over the railway line, railway footbridges and improvements to level crossings at Waterloo Road and Easthampstead Road.
- Three new public art features.
The mini-town is one of four that will be built in the borough to meet the 13,000 homes target the council has set by 2026.
Councillor Angus Ross, executive member for strategic highways, said the plan was more acceptable to the council than other mini-town proposals on the table because it is a complete picture, with full blueprints for roads and other essential elements of the estate.
Cllr Ross said: "There is an element of working together from all the consortia involved which is what we have been wanting in all four development locations right from the time it was agreed in 2009."
The plans will be discussed at 7pm at Shute End.