Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Concerns raised as thousands of new homes planned

COUNCILLORS from Wargrave and Charvil have raised concerns about plans for thousands of new homes in Wokingham borough.

They say it could cause irretrievable harm to the area to build in the green belt and on flood plains.

More than 200 sites, including five in Wargrave and four in Charvil, are being considered for inclusion in the new Wokingham local plan which will propose where new housing, business and leisure developments should go over the next 20 years.

Representatives of the two parishes as well as Sonning, Remenham, Ruscombe, Twyford and Hurst have written to Wokingham Borough Council and Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP Theresa May.

The letter says: “Wokingham borough is characterised by a series of villages and market towns surrounded by countryside and because of this Wokingham is an attractive place to live in and visit.

“The volume of additional housing suggested would severely impact this character and impose unacceptable pressures on already overstretched facilities.

“While it is accepted that some form of additional housing is required, we consider that the numbers proposed are wholly inconsistent with genuine ‘sustainability’ and would change the character and the maintenance of the borough in its current form.

“The northern parishes are therefore united in requesting you to take into account these serious concerns and to provide the necessary support to prevent the character of this area from being irretrievably harmed.”

The letter expresses concern about building on flood plains around the River Thames and River Loddon, saying that government guidelines advise against.

The letter also raises concern about the number of proposed sites in the plan which are in the green belt as well as the impact of development on infrastructure and services such as roads, schools, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.

It says existing roads struggle to cope with the volume of traffic and many schools are already over their capacity and that the developer contributions which would be paid to the borough council for the necessary improvements would be “woefully inadequate”.

The letter is signed by Wargrave parish clerk Stephen Hedges and Charvil clerk Miranda Parker as well as Councillors John Halsall, Bob Pitts and Emma Hobbs, who represent the villages on the borough council.

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, near the Piggott School, and another at the eastern end of the Old House in Milley Lane, Hare Hatch.

They have been suggested for a mixture of uses including housing, residential institutions and retail.

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