Sunday, 26 September 2021

We'll stop development in wrong places, say council chiefs

COUNCIL chiefs have pledged to stop unwanted development.

Twelves sites in Wargrave and Charvil have been submitted to Wokingham Borough Council for consideration for housing under its local plan out of a total of 260.

The council will consult the public before deciding which sites should be developed.

It will also apply for a grant of up to £250million from the Government’s housing infrastructure fund for road, rail and other improvements.

Council leader Charlotte Haitham Taylor said: “We are required by law to accept extra housing and it is our job to plan for it as best we can. This is so we can provide excellent homes with the roads, schools, public transport, sports facilities and community centres necessary to maintain the borough’s great quality of life.

“Deciding where we can and cannot accept development is a long process and final decisions will not be made until 2019 when the new local plan will be adopted.

“We are also seeking government funding at this early stage because the message we always get from our residents is that they want good quality infrastructure built early during housing developments.”

Deputy leader David Lee said: “We are continuing to lobby the Government for more support against speculative developers who submit inappropriate planning applications in unsustainable locations. Those developers force us to defend our position, and incur significant costs, at appeals despite the fact that we are accommodating an unprecedented volume of new homes.”

Earlier this month, borough councillor John Halsall launched a Facebook campaign called Protect the Green Belt in response to concerns about some of the sites earmarked for possible development in the plan.

Councillor Halsall, who represents Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe, said: “Wokingham is very attractive for development because it has very little protection.

“The irony is that one of the few parts that is protected is the green belt around Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe and the consideration that it should be sacrificed to accommodate development is a mistake.”

Cllr Haitham Taylor said: “It is vital at this stage that residents recognise nothing has been decided.”

The Wargrave sites are the Hare Hatch Sheeplands and Hare Hatch garden centres and two sites 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.

⚫ The Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham will hold public meetings at Loddon Hall in Twyford on Thursday, September 28 at 8pm and Saturday, September 30 at 10am.

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