Review of the Year: SeptemberBy Jon Nurse
January 04, 2013
Plans for an international airport to be built on the edge of the borough were slammed by Wokingham’s MP and councillors.
A British business consortium was believed to be assessing land between Reading, Maidenhead and Bracknell for a £60 billion four-runway airport.
Secret plans from the consortium, said to be backed by Chinese sovereign wealth, reveal an airport could built near Twyford or between Aylesbury and Banbury to solve the country’s aviation crisis.
Noise, traffic and the airport’s affect on the village were among objectors main concerns.
Wokingham MP John Redwood said: “It’s not something I’m supporting. It doesn’t sound like a plausible plan to me.
“I think there are other serious options they will value and review like another runway at Heathrow, extensions to Stansted or Gatwick and a new airport in the Thames estuary. This idea is wildly impractical.”
Protesters took to the streets amid fears that a child could be killed as drivers used a rat run to try to avoid town centre roadworks.
Residents on the Norreys estate campaigned with homemade banners, pictured right, after a dog was injured by a car.
They claim drivers have been speeding through the estate to avoid delays caused by temporary traffic lights and a one-way system in London Road while South East Water carries out major water main replacement across the town.
Louise McGow, of Barrett Crescent, said: “A dog was run down and dragged 40 yards along the road by a driver who was not a resident of the estate.
“There are three schools within the Norreys estate and St Crispin’s on the edge. How long will it be before a child is injured, or worse still, killed?”
Nine residents stood by the first chicane on Norreys Avenue, just off Wiltshire Road, waving large signs asking drivers to slow down and follow the official diversion.
Parents campaigning for changes in the siblings school places rule were frustrated reforms hadn’t been made despite a draft admissions policy being published.
The group of mums and dads had been working with Wokingham Borough Council officers to alter the criteria on siblings, regardless of whether they are out of catchment.
Many of the parents had a younger child due to start in 2013 or later, but feared they wouldn’t be given a place at the same school as older siblings.
Dad Nic Lander, who has two children at Walter Infant School and a third child due to start next September, said: “I chose Walter because we can walk in 10 minutes but my catchment school is 25 minutes walk. Tell me the sense in that. Children should not be split up, it’s morally wrong.”
Plans for new shops and houses were welcomed by Wokingham people – as long as the history and character of their market town is preserved.
Results of the latest public consultation on Wokingham’s regeneration were released, revealing the majority of people were looking forward to their new town centre.
But the report flagged up concern about a town centre supermarket, described as crucial to the scheme by developers, parking and traffic flow.
An exhibition in July at Elms Field was attended by 1,200 people.
More than half of those who responded thought the scheme would preserve Wokingham’s history, with strong support for the plan to do up and build more shops in Peach Street. But others felt it would be too modern, and would lose its market town feel.