Monday, 18 December 2017

Residents oppose plans for 10 homes at wildlife haven

HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition against a proposed housing development in Tokers Green.

Perfectfield, of Wokingham, has applied to build 10 houses on 0.7 acres of land by woodland off Tokers Green Lane, known as Colonel’s Bottom or Colonel’s Pit, near Mapledurham Golf Course.

The developer had previously proposed building 14 homes, sparking the petition, which now has almost 450 signatures.

Residents are concerned about the extra traffic, the gap with Reading being reduced and threat to wildlife.

Tokers Green resident Felicity Cooper, who started the petition, said: “It is a woodland area which is home to all kinds of animals, birds, insects and plants. People love to see the wildlife thrive while going for a walk. These houses would destroy the homes of all the fauna and flora.

“Hedgehogs are becoming uncommon because more houses are being built. Stag beetles are already rare but thanks to Colonel’s Pit there is a great number in Tokers Green. It would be sad to lose the butterflies and bees because they pollinate flowers.

“Although we need more houses for young people, there have been many cases of houses being given planning permission because they are described as ‘affordable’ but then being sold for as much as £700,000. If we want to build houses why not use derelict urban sites rather than places that are important to the environment?”

Richard Bisgrove, from Kidmore End, said the site helped keep the parish of Kidmore End separate from Reading borough.

He said: “This site is strategically important as the green wedge separating Tokers Green in South Oxfordshire and Caversham Heights in Reading.

“Infilling will not only remove the first sign you are going into the countryside for people coming from Reading and Caversham but threaten expansionary ideas from Reading into South Oxfordshire. Tokers Green Lane is a narrow road already busy with school-run and other traffic. The additional car traffic near the busy, narrow and dangerous junction of the lane with Shepherds Lane would create serious problems.”

Valerie Northfield, from Chazey Heath, said: “Tokers Green Lane is a narrow country road that is already overused by cars. There is no footpath and pedestrians walk along there at their peril.

“This development would further decrease road safety and lead to more families being effectively isolated in their homes unless they use a car every time they leave the house.”

Thomas Grepne, from Tokers Green, said: “The road infrastructure cannot handle yet more traffic. It is already poorly maintained by the council and being a country road there is no footpath for pedestrians or cyclists, which is dangerous as most of it is only wide enough for one car.”

Carole Neville, who also lives in Tokers Green, said: “There is not the infrastructure to support extra housing with local schools and doctors’ surgeries full to capacity. Tokers Green has already seen six new houses where one existed, which has stretched capacity on the lane even further.

“Traffic at its present level, with cars using it as a through road from Reading to Sonning Common as well as local traffic, is already eroding the surface and banks of the lane.”

Perfectfield has submitted an application to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

The development would comprise four four-bedroom houses and four with three bedrooms and two with two.

The application says: “The proposed development provides much-needed housing in a district which has under-delivered in its housing numbers. The site is located next to a golf course and an established residential development, providing a unique opportunity to deliver a modest number of sustainable dwellings within the district.”

It adds that the houses would have “no detrimental impact on the local environment whatsoever”.

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/felicity-hands-off-colonels-bottom-act-now

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