Councillors in the Wokingham borough have urged residents to join their fight against proposals which could double the number of new homes being built there.

As predicted by Lichfields’ Bethan Haynes and Daniel Lampard in Thames Tap on September 1, the Government’s Planning for the Future White Paper has prompted a fierce response from the borough.

The proposals, currently out for consultation, would double the housing requirement from 800 to 1,600 new homes a year. More than 47,000 people voiced their opposition to the 800 figure last year, through a council consultation.

The council has now asked people to make their feelings known  before the Government consultation ends on October 1.

Council leader John Halsall said: “This has come completely out of the blue and is horribly unfair to Wokingham borough.

“We have put up with Government imposed housing targets for too long. I have gone to Westminster, as have previous council leaders, to ask for a fairer allocation on housing and got nothing back.

“Last year we asked our residents if they thought the then Government imposed housing target of 800 new homes per year was too many and had an overwhelming response – 47,000 residents told us 800 was too many.

“We thought that would strengthen our hand, but now the Government is proposing to more than double that.”

A petition has been launched which the council hopes will attract the 100,000 total signatures required for a possible debate in Parliament and residents have been urged to write to their MPs and the Secretary of State. The council will make a formal objection.

Cllr Halsall added: “We need our residents to step up and tell the Government that they need to rethink this. Adding a new town the size of Woodley and Earley combined into the borough every 15 years is just incomprehensible.”

Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning, said: “I am outraged at how the Government are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”

“They are launching two consultations at the same time, but giving much greater coverage to the consultation that doesn’t include housing numbers.

“Under the umbrella of a major reform to an out of date planning system, they have slipped an attempt at some short term ‘wins’ under the radar – which will have a massive, detrimental impact on Wokingham borough, as well as many other areas around the country.”

The council has put up a page of information at​

Image courtesy of The Wokingham Paper.

© Thames Tap No 224 (powered by

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