Save our Wokingham countryside from developers

Save our Wokingham countryside from developers

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Anita Stein started this petition to Growth and Delivery Team, Wokingham Borough Council, Shute End, Wokingham, RG40 1BN.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has just announced it's latest Draft Local Plan which will be the blueprint for development in Wokingham Borough for the years ahead. 

WBC is proposing a new Garden Town at Grazeley for much of the future housing supply. However there are still pockets of land in Wokingham that are being proposed.

This petition is to get support from local residents to stop Wokingham Borough Council proposing the last two undeveloped areas of countryside nearest to Wokingham town center - Land South of Gipsy Lane at Knoll Farm (17 Dwellings) and Chapel Green (21 Dwellings). 

Here are the reasons why these two pieces of land should not be proposed for development:

  • Flood Risk – The historic flood events diagram for Knoll Farm, South of Gipsy Lane named area 5WK006 (highlighted in page 2 of WBC SFRA 2020, Appendix 2 Site Assessments) shows extensive flooding throughout the site (flood zones 2 and 3) and this is only going to get progressively worse with climate change in the future.  National guidance precludes residential building within flood zones

  • Power Cables at Knowl Farm – there are two different overhead electric cables running across the site. Building so close to powerlines is a health risk.
  • Access Issues:

    ·      Knowl Farm – there is currently only an unadopted road over a manual level crossing on to Gipsy Lane which is certainly not fit to provide additional access to new development on the land.  To gain access a spur road would have to be created from the SDL including a bridge over the Emm Brook creating significant extra cost to a developer plus untold damage to the environmental ecosystem.

    ·      Chapel Green – an additional spur road will be required to the SDL again to provide access to Chapel Green as there is only a single-track road which is not for purchase

  • The Knoll Hill Farm site has been designated as a gap/wedge location – the site is in the countryside and is on the edge of development limit and is designated a gap/wedge site. As stated in the “Right Homes, Right Places Draft Local Plan Public Consultation Document”. The area to the south of the Langborough Recreation Ground - provides a sense of openness associated with open views to the countryside across a flat landscape with limited enclosure.
  • Landfill Site – part of the Knoll Farm site is within a landfill site 250m consultation zone and a mineral site Consultation Area.  This would mean houses would have to be erected on base slabs which are themselves supported on piles driven into firm ground below the base of the landfill. The use of this construction technique will overcome subsidence problems.  This is to going create additional significant cost to any developer.
  • Traffic Congestion: - Additional traffic congestion to an already identified congestion area at the Tesco Round-about on to Finchampstead Road. 
  • Air Pollution – with this added congestion will come additional air pollution
  • Environment Conservation – according to The National Planning Policy Framework (section 15) planning should contribute to and enhance the natural environment by:
    - Protecting and enhancing valued landscape.
    - Recognizing the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, and the wider benefits from natural capital and ecosystem services. 

    Both Knoll Farm and Chapel Green have a significant ecosystem of wildlife (such as deer, foxes, rabbits, bats, badgers and a whole host of birds and river life) that frequent these areas that will be in jeopardy if these developments proceed.
  • Conservation
    Henry Lucas Hospital is a listed 17th century building that backs on to the proposed Chapel Green development

The public consultation is open until Friday 20th March so we need your feedback soon! 

We would really appreciate all your support to stop WBC proposing these two locations for developers to build MORE houses in and around Wokingham Town Centre.

Many thanks in advance!

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