Saturday, 22 February 2020

Help save the green belt

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the development of green belt land in Wargrave and Charvil have called on residents to support them.

The Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham wants the public to respond to the latest public consultation on Wokingham Borough Council’s local plan, which will propose where new housing and business and leisure developments should go over the next 20 years.

More than 200 sites are being considered for inclusion in the plan, including eight in Wargrave parish and four in Charvil.

The draft plans sets out the proposed sites and asks residents where development should go, whether there are locations suitable for higher densities and how land could be used for employment centres.

The sites in Wargrave parish include the Hare Hatch Sheeplands and Hare Hatch garden centres and two pieces of land at the Primrose Nursery in London Road.

There is also a plot to the south of Bath Road, one at the junction of Bath Road and Wargrave Road and others at the eastern end of the Old House in Milley Lane, Hare Hatch, and Bear Cottage on the same road.

In Charvil the sites are on land east and west of Park View Drive North, west of Park Lane, off Norris Green and to the rear of Oaktree Cottage.

The campaign is urging residents to support protection of the green belt and says it will be issuing guidance on how to respond to the consultation this month.

It said: “It will carry more weight if the section on the green belt is met with a consistent public response, so our planning experts are currently studying the documentation in detail and will draft a suggested response with the next couple of weeks.

“The local plan update will shape the future of Wokingham borough. It must comply with overall government planning policy but the local consultation will help to determine how the borough will manage development, including where it will and will not go.

“Until now the borough council has initiated studies and consultation including a call for sites, engagement with town and parish councils, and evidence studies.

“But no decisions have been made, so it is vital that we take this opportunity to voice our views.”

John Halsall, who represents Wargrave, Remenham and Ruscombe on the council and supports the campaign, said: “The local plan is a vital document. It determines where development goes and what it is.

“It’s important that those who wish to protect the area, particularly the green belt, reply to this consultation. Progressively, we will be informing people how they can reply most productively.”

The campaign previously organised a petition calling for a council debate on the plan sites which gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Another 1,000 people signed a separate petition launched by Ruscombe Voice, another campaign group calling for protection of the green belt.

The debate was due to be held in September but was postponed until next year after the release of the latest consultation was put back.

In addition, many people would have been unable to attend due to the reduced number of parking spaces around Shute End in Wokingham caused by redevelopment.

The consultation will run until February 15. To respond, visit

A drop-in event will be held at Loddon Hall in Twyford on Thursday, January 10 from 7pm to 9pm.

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