Right homes, right places?
I will try to keep it brief, but the Right Homes, Right Places mantra being trotted out at last night's meeting is starting to grate.
Grazeley. Was it ever really a serious option? It feels now more like a distraction. Could it have been a smoke screen behind which the real plan, Hall Farm all along, cooked up with the connivance of the University of Reading, could be brought up to speed?
These "carefully planned major new communities" we all "expressed a preference for". Were we asked if we wanted ADDITIONAL ones to the 3,500 houses on the SDL already being built at Arborfield Garrison? I think not. The preference I expressed was to stick to the SDL limits already agreed to. Which, incidentally are already being expanded upon. (The former Reading FC training Ground at Hogwood was not part of the original SDL, but it is now?). In return for which we would get some much needed infrastructure. The medical centre, community centre, shop and market square have still not been delivered.
The "generous green space" we are so graciously offered in return for our blind acceptance of ANOTHER 4,500 houses is ALREADY A GENEROUS GREEN SPACE! What we are being offered is significantly less than that which we already have!
You want my thoughts on designating Local Green Space? Hall Farm IS a green space, full of locally valued history, heritage and biodiversity. It ALREADY acts as a massive CARBON CAPTURE site. It COULD be even better if you plant some of your 250,000 TREES here. Work WITH the local community, not AGAINST us. If this truly is a CONSULTATION, try LISTENING! (Sorry, for shouting, but I think they might be a bit deaf).
The possibilities: See below. This shows "all sites promoted by developers, land owners and others for development in the local plan". What I have not seen, or even heard discussed very much, is the other options available beside Hall Farm.
Two major roads run through the Borough. The M4 and the A329(M). They meet just North of Wokingham town. South of those two roads we are in very real danger of joining up with Reading Town in a continuous urban sprawl. The little Parish of Arborfield and Newland (Population 3,115) is a small oasis of green space between Wokingham and Reading.
Hall Farm, being a farm, has the potential to act as a source of real locally grown food that has not been trucked in at great carbon cost, to both these conurbations. Put your developments North of the M4/A329 and this precious AGRICULTURAL green space can be kept for GROWING FOOD!
It would also demonstrate to voters, about to go to the polls next May, that our Councillors are not completely biased and blind to the needs of constituents in the South of the Borough.
If nothing else, at least present the arguments so we can properly make a truly well informed decision.