Pictured above are supporters of SOLVE Hall Farm at the Shinfield Road entrance to the University of Reading campus where we went to deliver our "Alternative vision for Hall Farm" on Saturday April 30th. With a good turn out of supporters, a positive response from Dominik Zaum (one of the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellors for Research and Innovation) and with local politicians from all the major political parties expressing their opposition to building houses at Hall Farm this was our first opportunity to speak directly to members of the wider public about why we are opposed to building 4,500 houses at Hall Farm, as proposed by Wokingham Borough Council as part of their "Revised Growth Strategy"
SOLVE Hall Farm members handed out leaflets and took the time to answer questions from passers by. Students of the University in particular wanted to know more and many expressed surprise and concern that the University, which prides itself on being "the most Environmentally friendly university in the U.K." would be prepared to do this to a site of such important biodiversity, heritage and landscape value.
This visit was an excellent start to getting our message out to a wider audience, but we need to keep up the pressure. Let's face it, £500 Million is a lot of temptation to be weighed up against what is already a badly damaged reputation among the local community for selling University assets to housing developers. (A point made repeatedly by the Councillors and prospective Councillors with our deputation as the group spoke to Dominik about our concerns).
Let us hope that the promised meeting between the University and community representatives happens soon, and that it takes our suggestions seriously. Alternatively we could keep just coming back every last Saturday of the month? Maybe we need to move our next public demonstration to Wokingham? We are not Extinction Rebellion, and I do not propose any kind of anti social or illegal action, but we do need to make ourselves seen and heard, so a massive THANK YOU to all those who gave up their time to support SOLVE Hall Farm :-)
Next steps? How about we all make contact with the UoR Student Union? Maybe they would like to join us next time we visit the campus? How aware are they about what is being proposed? After all, Climate Change will have an ever greater effect the younger you are.
They have a Facebook Page here: http://www.facebook.com/RUSUnews
Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/rusutweets
Or you can email the UoR Student Union here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email: email@example.com with your thoughts and comments regarding anything that appears on this website. A gallery of pictures taken during our visit to Whiteknights can be found here on our new Photo's Page. Let me know if you have more that might be added, equally, if you would rather that your picture was not published, let me know the details and I will take it down.
Hoping to meet you all again soon!
"Mad Mole" aka Roderick Stevens aka Paul ;-)
An introduction to the issues
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. 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.
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.
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). Some of this site is below a Category A Dam at Bearwood Lake.
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.
More houses in the South East benefits nobody more than the developers. More "affordable" housing could be built elsewhere in the country. 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.
Hall Farm is full of local heritage: Listed buildings, the ruins of a 13th Century Church, an old mill, and possibly the remains of an Anglo Saxon settlement. These need to be preserved.
The richness of the biodiversity on the site is incalculable. The Loddon Valley here has been largely undisturbed for many hundreds of years. It has to be protected.
Join our Mailing List
By signing up to our Mailing List you can be kept informed of any future events planned and join the discussion around how best to progress the campaign.
To join email firstname.lastname@example.org
We will never hold personal data unnecessarily nor will we sell or pass personal information to third parties.
We hold on file names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers where they have been submitted.
Your data is held securely on electronic file and can only be accessed by SOLVE Hall Farm organisers Colin Watts and Paul Stevens.
Appropriate technical measures to prevent unauthorized or unlawful processing or accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to your data will be undertaken at all times.
You can UNSUBSCRIBE at any time by sending an email to email@example.com with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.