Campaigner lodges complaint over Buckhurst Farm plansBy Laura Herbert
May 11, 2012
An objector fighting plans to build 650 homes in south Wokingham has lodged a formal complaint claiming Wokingham Borough Council has failed to listen to residents.
Gareth Rees claims the council’s planning committee “failed to mention any of the local residents’ objections” to plans to build 650 homes on Buckhurst Farm in London Road when it approved the application last month.
Mr Rees is also objecting to the council’s Core Strategy, which sets out where 13,000 homes are to be built by 2026.
The 650 homes in Buckhurst Farm will be the first phase in a 2,500-home development, which forms part of the Core Strategy.
Mr Rees said: “I am complaining because Wokingham Borough Council have not listened to the local voices of the community and continued to proceed down outdated plans and policy, using them as justification for building on the only green space left in the Wokingham area when there are plenty of brown field locations which can be used.”
He continued: “To me it seems like a lesson in frustration.
“Wokingham Borough Council make the process long, drawn out and slow hoping that people will give up.
“They did not listen to the local community over the objections for both the Core Strategy and Buckhurst Park, that was clear when I presented at the council meeting, and they are still ignoring the people who voted them in.”
Mr Rees originally lodged a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), but this is not being investigated as he must first go through the council’s complaint procedure.
He added: “I have every intention of pursuing this with LGO once the Wokingham Borough Council objection process is complete.
“I do not believe this current council are acting in the best interest of the local community as I’m sure many of the local action groups feel the same.
“Ultimately I fear our voices will not be heard and that ‘Wokingham the small market town’ will turn in to a city at the hands of the current council and developers.”
Sarah Barrow, head of customer services and administration at the council, said: “Wokingham Borough Council takes complaints from residents extremely seriously.
“Wherever possible we aim to resolve complaints as informally as possible.
“However, where a resident has asked for their complaint to be investigated formally, we follow a three-stage process.”