Wokingham Council threatens our green fields

Many people in Wokingham feel our area has more than done its bit for new housing development in recent years. Surely it is time to slow the rate of n ew build, let the infrastructure catch up, and allow us to enjoy the woods, fields and green spaces that remain?

I have successfully lobbied the government with other similarly placed and like minded MPs. The government is dropping the national top down targets requiring large amounts of new development in places like Wokingham, and the operation of the five year supply of land rules.  What the government asks in return is that local planning authorities including Wokingham Borough should produce an up to date local plan making reasonable provision for new homes and be prepared to defend their case. With a proper local plan we are then promised permissions will not be granted on appeal outside the approved plan areas.

So the Council should be getting on with our new local plan to gain  that protection. Instead the Lib Dem leadership of the Council are refusing to get on with it. This will leave us wide open to more development on appeal as developers will be able to use the absence of a plan to justify more building than we would like in places where we do not want it.


  1. Bloke
    November 20, 2023

    Removing ugly buildings and concreted-over spaces would be an improvement.
    A natural environment is much more conducive to life and happiness. It is those that should be expanded.
    The country needs liberty. Lib Dems are often its antithesis.

  2. Berkshire Alan
    November 21, 2023

    They would sooner proceed with proposed new cycle lanes, and the upgrading of existing ones, even though there use is low, more complicated road signage, more obstructions, higher parking charges, and a plethora of varying speed limits, painted road surfaces, all so much more fun than composing a credible plan for actually improving our overloaded infrastructure, vehicle movement, and housing.
    Seems like they are very fond of discussion of all sorts of proposals and consultations, composed with leading facts and questions, rather than getting down to the real basic needs of the community.
    They were going to remove 50 waste bins locally until a huge protest was made by residents, given most bins are overflowing with rubbish, now we are going to have fortnightly waste collection .
    The former Local LibDem council leader seems he is now more interested in challenging you for your MP’s seat at the next election if all of the news letters and leaflets being delivered to houses on a regular basis are to be believed.
    I thought there was some sort of legislation against campaigning for an election outside of certain dates, so far he has been doing it for about 6 months, with still perhaps a year to go !
    Just about shows the priorities.

    1. Veronica Upstoe
      November 21, 2023

      Couldn’t agree more, Alan. It is ludicrous to even think about upgrading cycle lanes, reducing the width of roads to extend footpaths etc. What is wrong with the footpaths we have already? I have hardly seen more than a couple of cyclists whilst driving into Wokingham centre so what is the point of it all? What the Lib Dems have done to the roads in Arborfield by putting in those restrictive ‘islands’ is madness and so dangerous.

  3. David Bunney
    November 21, 2023

    Absolutely agree John, thank you for standing up for local green spaces. We must protect woodland, wild patched or scrubland and agricultural hedgerows from urbanisation. Parks and wild spots inside developed areas must also be preserved for the benefit of wildlife and sanity of the residents.

  4. Cliff..Wokingham.
    November 21, 2023

    Sir John,
    It seems to me that, all too often, the local authority is the enemy of the people.
    They seem to wage war on the very people they purport to serve. Development, refuse policy and transport and road management are just a few examples of that lwar on the people.
    Neither my wife nor I drive. Recently my wife was blue lighted into RBH due to complications relating to her medical condition. We had both been shielding throughout the Covid pandemic.
    I took a taxi from my home near St. Crispin to the RBH and the driver took me out through Bell Foundary Lane via Embrook to Winnersh. I was really surprised to see the amount of new development.
    The next day, I took the number three bus to RBH which goes via Barkham, California, Arborfield and Shinfield. Again the level of development, especially in Arborfield, was shocking.
    The very thing which made Wokingham an attractive place to live, is being built over.
    It seems to me that, Wokingham will in time, become part of a Greater Reading.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      November 22, 2023

      Unfortunately Cliff building is happening everywhere, because the population is growing with 600,000 legal imports of people a year.
      My old Town of Brentford is now being decimated with high rise blocks of flats, with many of them being marketed abroad for people to purchase and buy off plan.
      Developers are chasing the need and profit, and Councils have been made by Government of all colours over the years to give up land for development, unfortunately new builds are now more dense, road widths have got more and more narrow, and rooms and gardens have got smaller and smaller.
      We do not have a housing crisis, we have a population crisis.

      1. Cliff.. Wokingham.
        November 23, 2023

        Berkshire Alan,
        You are correct. The infrastructure cannot cope now and yet they still build.
        We were forced to have a water meter by the water company, citing pressure on supply and yet, hundreds of extra homes have been built since. I assume they all need water.

  5. Hat man
    November 21, 2023

    Should your colleague Michael Gove not be getting on with publishing the long-awaited National Planning Policy Framework reforms? Specifically to say whether the standard method formula for determining housing numbers is still to be used in a local plan, or not? Until he does, Wokingham and other councils are left in limbo.

  6. Simon Chapman
    November 21, 2023

    Isn’t the Green Belt now supposed to be protected by National Development Management Policies? To quote the Government, these policies will protect the Green Belt with statutory weight and can be applied quickly across the country to guide decisions even if the local plan is significantly out-of-date and cannot be relied upon.

    So local authorities don’t have to worry, right? Green Belt policies no longer have to be built into the local plan. But please remind me where these National Development Management Policies are as I need to check them.

  7. Peter Humphreys
    November 25, 2023

    If more housing is needed then why not build on the unused park and ride sites? It would preserve green space and make a profit for the council.

  8. Cliff..Wokingham.
    November 26, 2023

    Great idea… If they built on the Park and Row at Winnersh, they could create a new Venice.

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