A possible 15,000-home garden town at Grazeley has been all but scrapped due to an expanded emergency area around the AWE site at Burghfield.
The Ministry of Defence has requested the garden town be removed from Wokingham Borough Council’s draft Local Plan because new legislation has expanded the ‘detailed emergency planning zone’ at the base.
The council is now looking at alternatives to the garden town and plans new consultations next year on other sites.
Executive member for planning, Cllr Wayne Smith, said: “This is a disappointment. We believed a garden town at Grazeley was a great way to provide homes local people need in a way that would safeguard our environmental and economic future.
“It seems that perhaps the Ministry of Defence isn’t in step with other parts of the Government, as they awarded Grazeley garden city status in 2019.
“However, we’ve been looking at the alternatives and there are some other strong possibilities for us to explore. We need to do some more work and then will bring the best proposals to our residents in a consultation next year.”
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This decision is a vote for common sense. The decision three years ago by Wokingham Council to endorse the Grazeley village private sector initiative did not follow a thorough examination of all the spatial options. This omission was a serious policy mistake. Wokingham and Reading lie at the heart of the dynamic Thames Region. Where the new homes are best located must be decided by all the local authorities who carry the future housing responsibilities. Relying on the traditional Call for Sites from landowners and developers is an absurd system for identifying sustainable growth locations.