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The working Party on Saturday 15th January will now be followed up by a number of online conferences. Starting Friday 21st January the SOLVE group will meet via Zoom with the aim of finding a long term alternative solution to large scale housing development at Hall Farm. To stay informed or take part, join our mailing list.

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An introduction to the issues.

Wokingham Borough Council have proposed 4,500 houses on land known as Hall Farm/Loddon Valley. This website has been set up to fight this proposal.

The consultation on the proposed 4,500 houses at Hall Farm remains open until 5.00 pm on January 24th. 2022. You can still participate here https://engage.wokingham.gov.uk/en-GB/projects/right-homes-right-places-local-plan

Part B asks if you agree with the Spatial Strategy. if you want to protect Hall Farm from being developed for housing you need to DISAGREE with the proposed Spatial Strategy.

There is a simple proforma LPU consultation response you can use as your response if you wish to object here. Download the Word version, then edit and email it to WBC. Alternatively download the PDF version, print and sign it, then put it in the post box at Arborfield Village Hall (Not the Parish Council one please) before midday on Monday 24th January and it will be delivered to Shute End offices of WBC

Some of the reasons why Save Our Loddon Valley Environment at Hall Farm (SOLVE Hall Farm) object to this development are shown below:

  • Hall Farm is a Greenfield site. Brownfield sites, higher density building or building in other, less over crowded areas of the country are preferable to this destruction of the countryside. This development would inevitably lead to destruction of ancient hedgerows and the cutting down of veteran trees with subsequent loss of habitat and biodiversity.

  • There is virtually no infrastructure on site. Roads, sewage and power etc will need to be put in. Some things like access to rail cannot be put in, they will need to be travelled to. The distance from major shopping centres and easy access to the M4 is likely to encourage even more private car use. Other sites that could be used for housing are being ignored despite having better access to infrastructure.

  • This proposal will remove the remaining separation between major settlements at Shinfield  Arborfield and Winnersh. Arborfield and Shinfield both have Neighbourhood Plans that are supposed to help guide development and which this proposal chooses to ignore. 97% of housing over the past 10 years has been in the South of the Borough. Only 3% is in the North. We are being told we must accept this by politicians who boast of no development happening in their wards.

  • The UK Government Housing Formula is blamed for this local need for housing. Wokingham should collaborate with other Berkshire authorities to oppose the government’s high housing targets and seek well-integrated sustainable development across the County. (NB John Halsall leader of WBC Executive has now published a letter to Michael Gove asking for a review of the housing numbers being imposed on Wokingham by National Government. You can read it here: https://news.wokingham.gov.uk/news/our-leaders-letter-housing-minister-michael-gove/) This is after months of arguing that these numbers are absolute and cannot possibly be changed!

  • There is no local need for these houses, the existing provision at the Garrison SDL was considered by the Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan to be sufficient until 2036. More people, more cars and more pressure on Schools and medical services will result if this proposal goes ahead.

  • The Climate Emergency is likely to make flooding worse yet much of this site is flood plain. The act of building will make the flooding worse (from water run off when previously absorbent green fields get built on).

  • Contrary to claims by WBC that Green Belt cannot be built on, it can. You do have to make a special case for it, but it can be done.

  • The promised infrastructure at the Garrison SDL has still not been delivered, 5 years after the houses were built. Why should we believe this proposal will be any better?

  • Jobs are cited as being part of the deal but the exemplar Studios at Shinfield have already been given the go ahead, without any need for additional houses. The skill, education and dedication of Reading workers is already enough to "sell" the site to potential employers.

  • More houses in the South East benefits nobody more than the developers. More "affordable" housing could be built elsewhere in the country. (The so called "Levelling Up" agenda). This is about putting profits before people.

  • Post Brexit Britain needs to grow more food and import less. This is good quality farm land that should be used for food.

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