Councillor Gary Cowan writes:
The Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham headed by the Leader Of Wokingham Borough Council and the ward member for most of Wokingham’s Green Belt claims it is being seriously considered by Wokingham Borough Council for 3500 houses. The Council Leader supports signing the petition on protecting the Green Belt but the same Council Leader will not entertain residents petitions on housing matters in the draft housing local plan. So much for localism and democracy
What a joke as the new housing plan for his ward, Ruscombe shows a menial increase of 34 houses. His Deputy Leader at Barkham will take 19 homes while his Executive member heading up the new housing plan disaster is the Member for Hurst who will get 15 houses. How unfair is that?
On protecting the Green Belt Cllr Halsall says we’ve been working to build our legal case against the Green Belt development, while broadening the campaign to promote the Forward Plan for Wokingham. Cllr Halsall maintains that a new resident-centred approach would build the homes that are needed without exacerbating the traffic problems or destroying the character of the area.
What about exacerbating the traffic and the destruction of the character of Arborfield, Shinfield, Sindlesham and Winnersh with 6000 + houses and another 1,000 odd in South Wokingham. Don’t they deserve the same protection he is giving his own ward and those of his fellow Executive Mates? Obviously not.
On the 1000 odd houses south of the Borough at Greys Farm and Pinewood the housing Executive Member for Hurst (and Housing) states that improvements are conditional on funding. For funding read developer funding generated by houses.
The Executive Member for Hurst (and Housing) also states that the 4500+ houses at Hall Farm will be outside the flood plain but the site will include wetland along the side of the Loddon River and not far from Bearwood Lakes Dam.
When one looks at the actual loss of life and serious damage to property in Europe very recently as a direct result of Climate Change who is he trying to fool? His head in the sand attitude says it all as long as there is no development in his or his mates wards.
Although there are some excellent local Conservative Councillors when it comes to major decisions they are all subjected to supporting the party’s ideology agreed in secret meetings behind closed doors. Conservative ideology dressed up as democracy is how they try and sell it but let’s hope that in next May’s elections residents see through this confidence trick.
Cllr Gary Cowan. Independent Borough Councillor for Arborfield at Wokingham Borough Council