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Your vote matters

Updated: May 1

Thursday May 2nd is hugely important for the SOLVE Hall Farm movement.

It will be out last chance to register our feelings regarding the proposed imposition of a major new SDL (Strategic Development Location, otherwise known as a REALLY BIG housing estate!).

If the current administration keep control of Wokingham, or even gain more seats they WILL press ahead with the LPU (Local Plan Update) in a largely unchanged form from when it was first consulted on back in January 2022. We KNOW this because the man in charge of the LPU wrote: "to depart from the current draft local plan in the way she (Cllr Pauline Jorgensen) suggests, a very long delay is inevitable, as such a material change would require two fresh new public consultations before an agreed local plan could go to public enquiry".

We KNOW the current administration do not want another public consultation, so we are left with the LPU as it was, largely unchanged, therefore including up to 4,500 houses to be built at Hall Farm.

How might we fare if the LPU goes to the next stage, a public inspection to judge if the plan is "sound"? Well, how have Arborfield residents been treated recently in planning matters put to Wokingham Borough Council? Simply put, we are consistently overruled. We object that applications are outside development limits and contrary to the Boroughs own rules on building in the countryside, but our objections are simply ignored, because "economic considerations outweigh environmental ones" or words to that effect.

The balance of power in Wokingham is currently very close, with the Lib Dems having no overall majority and reliant on a "partnership" with Labour to form a ruling Executive. Typically voting turn out is very low for Local Elections, often as low as one third of those able to vote taking the time to bother. What this means in practical terms is that your vote matters!

In other posts I have argued in favour of voting Conservative, as in my opinion this is the only way left to us to send a very clear message to our Councillors that we do not accept their "economics are more important than the environment" argument.

I fully accept that many people will have a problem with this kind of tactical voting, seeing it as an endorsement of some highly controversial policies implemented by the Conservatives nationally. Ok, if you cannot vote Conservative on Thursday can I respectfully suggest you simply DO NOT VOTE LIB DEM. If they win more seats they will press ahead with the LPU as it is, and this means somewhere in the region of 4,500 houses WILL BE BUILT AT HALL FARM.

We were fooled into thinking we would be given a fair hearing when we collected thousands of signatures on a petition asking for a debate on the houses at Hall Farm. Don't let's be fooled again!

We were fooled into believing this man supported our cause. Twice bitten? Thrice shy!

You have been warned!

Paul Stevens

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