Public consultation began today (Monday) on a revised growth strategy for the Wokingham district Local Plan – and some major schemes are proposed.
Since the vision for 15,000 homes at Grazeley was ruled out by the extended emergency planning zone around AWE Burghfield, other sites are now being considered, including a new 4,500 home garden village between Shinfield, Arborfield and Sindlesham.
There is also a potential full or partial relocation of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, subject to funding.
The revised growth strategy also proposes an additional allocation of around 800 homes within the council’s existing South Wokingham major development area, south of the railway line and Waterloo Road. This is in addition to the 2,500 homes allocated to South Wokingham in the current Local Plan.
Under the proposed revision, Gray’s Farm would be developed for indoor and outdoor sports and community uses.
Also proposed is around 2,700 homes across 46 smaller sites in Wokingham and the parishes of Arborfield and Newland, Barkham, Charvil, Finchampstead, Hurst, Ruscombe, Shinfield, Sonning, Swallowfield, Twyford and Winnersh.
The revised growth strategy is also looking to designate more than 70 additional areas as local green space.
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “Like other local authorities, we’re legally required to produce policies that guide planning decisions on where development is supported and where it isn’t.
“Our current policies still effectively manage development across the borough while delivering high-quality infrastructure but were only written to do this until 2026. The new ones must therefore look further forward while taking that same successfully proven approach.
“Without valid and effective planning policies, developers could easily challenge any decision to refuse permission and the council could lose its say over where or how new housing and other development would take place.
“This could lead to homes being allowed in unsuitable locations, being of lower quality, and in places where infrastructure can’t be improved to serve residents properly.
“Having an up-to-date Local Plan will allow us to continue planning the services and facilities that are built alongside new homes – and to ensure that the developers pay for them.”
Public meetings will be held from 7pm – 9pm today (November 22) at St Crispin’s School and on Tuesday, November 30, at Arborfield Green Leisure Centre.
Four virtual meetings are also proposed, two each on December 2 and December 6.
Places need to be booked. Visit engage.wokingham.gov.uk.
The consultation runs until January 24.
© Thames Tap (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).
Sign up to receive your free weekly Thames Tap newsletter here.