The Conservative ruling group sanctioned the draft local plan which the Conservative Executive approved for consultation. It sets out Conservative Policy for housing up to 2038 and beyond if you include Hall Farm. This is the document which the Officers will defend at the eventual Public Inquiry and it will be very difficult for residents to be able to change it once it reaches this stage.
It’s very nearly already "set in stone" and probably the only way to change it is to change the Council as a new administration can insist on a review of the housing numbers, reviewing site allocations for suitability plus matching the numbers the government has imposed on us. At the same time as we need to continue to campaign for lower housing numbers, Climate Change etc. has to be factored into them, as should a more equitable distribution of houses across the whole of the Borough.
Getting down to the nitty gritty of elections the questions must be asked, why does the Leader of the Council say he is fighting to reduce housing numbers when at Hall Farm he is planning to build 2,300 houses more than the Local plan requires? This would lead to a huge building site at Hall Farm that will go on until 2060/65 or thereabouts. (With all the noise, traffic congestion and pollution that will bring to the area).
Why are Conservative Councillors in Wokingham Without fighting housing at Pinewood, Finch Councillors fighting Housing in Barkham, the Hurst Councillor fighting housing in Hurst and Arborfield/Shinfield/Swallowfield Councillors fighting housing in their areas (particularly Hall Farm but also many other sites) when it was they themselves who signed off and so promoted the Draft Local Plan which included all these sites?
Is it because they realise it will cost them votes in next weeks Local Elections? Why didn't they just stop it at source? Or were they so arrogant they did not think it would affect them? It’s important to let residents know, before they vote next Thursday, that it’s the Conservatives who are promoting all these houses which they are now pretending they are against.
Wokingham Conservatives (Rose Street) produced a leaflet (promoted by Alison Swaddle) opposing Hall Farm but had Wokingham’s Conservatives done so prior to this at their Group meeting it would already be dead in the water. Their arrogance is breath-taking. It’s like they are trying to fool all of the people all of the time.
It would not go amiss at this important moment in the democratic decision making process if there is an opportunity to get this message across: That a Conservative Vote is a vote for even more housing and they are not being honest as its the Conservatives alone who sanctioned the Local Plan for Consultation with all the houses in it.
No one else.
Just my thoughts
Standing on May 5th as an Independent Councillor for Arborfield.