As I drive around the constituency visiting people and looking at problems on the ground I have seen the rapid quickening of the pace of development this year. In the first quarter of 2016 118 new homes were started in the constituency. In the second quarter this leapt to 222, around four times the national average for a constituency, and way above the levels in Wokingham in 2015.
The Council is also busy trying to get the roads and facilities upgraded to handle all the extra people and vehicles. The first part of the Winnersh by pass is being dug. The Shinfield relief road and motorway crossing is almost complete. The new secondary school at Arborfield has opened for pupils this September. The new road to the north of Wokingham in Emmbrook is taking shape.
I am all too conscious of the impact these construction works have on the neighbours. Building inevitably produces dust and mud. It bring substantial heavy lorry and plant movements. It creates noise when the machinery is operating to dig, mix and fix. People living by can feel invaded by the intense activity and sounds.
The Council has powers to ameliorate and regulate the noise and disruption. As the local highways authority the Council can create routes for heavy traffic that avoid the more sensitive residential areas or divert traffic to larger roads where their impact is diluted. As the Planning authority they can lay down restricted hours for site working and control the contractor’s access to public property and to the existing highways and utility networks. As Building Regulation authority the Council can also satisfy itself about the impact any new development has on existing water, power and highway structures and supplies. I am keen that any new development takes into account the inevitable impact on flood waters, and contains within it ways of improving the area’s resilience to flash floods and general flooding.
Anyone with a worry or problem with site nuisance should get in touch with Wokingham Borough direct to see how they can help. I also take up these issues with Councillors and Council executives when people write to me about them, conscious that the powers lie with the Council to alleviate the impact on the local community.