Quite a lot has gone on in the past few days so it is time for a more general update.
Firstly the issue of the trucks going to and from the site through the residential area past the pre-school continues to roll on. Crest Nicholson had a site meeting in the middle of last week and let us know that they were going to change the routing of the trucks within forty-eight hours. That period has passed and we are now told that the routing will change “imminently”.
What is more interesting is that they informed us that the trucks were being routed according to a plan in the section 106 agreement between themselves and Wokingham Borough Council, and sent us a copy of the plan that had been supplied to them, which does indeed show that the route through the middle of the Garrison alongside the route around the A327 and along the southern part of Sheerlands Road. We will be taking up how WBC allowed a plan to be included in the section 106 agreement, as this stretch of road is not only one that currently parents and children going to the pre-school have to cross, residents going to the letter box have to cross, but more importantly once the secondary school opens, this is a key part of the plans for a safe route to school. How many potential parents are going to be happy to have their children walking to the school when that route crosses one of the agreed access routes for building traffic to other parts of the development?
Another point to consider is that whilst Crest Nicholson are pointing the finger at Wokingham Borough Council over the route, the plan they were given has both routes. Crest Nicholson has been keen to highlight their credentials in a number of meetings with local residents, and talked about being considerate contractors with regards to the existing residents. But in this situation when given the choice of a route which exposed children walking to the pre-school to danger, goes past a well used bus stop, post box and playing fields through a residential area, as opposed to an alternative route that went down the A327 and approached the site well away from residential areas but was a bit longer, they chose the short route that even an elementary risk assessment would indicate was more dangerous to local residents and had a greater possibility of an accident.
We hope that Hugo Reeve and his team at Crest Nicholson have learned lessons from this week and will put the safety of local residents, especially our children front and centre in all their subsequent routing plans, and wherever possible route their trucks and deliveries away from residential areas.
Moving on, anybody who submitted comments to the Marino Family planning application for the southern part of the Strategic Development Location will have received either an e-mail, a letter, or possibly both, notifying them of a revision to the application. As with the revisions to the Crest Nicholson application previously you can comment on the revised application whether or not you commented on the original application. The revised application documents can be found on the council system under the application number O/2014/2179 with the revised documents presented below the original documents. As a number of members have pointed out both to us and the council the revised documents are not conducive to easily seeing what has changed as they are presented as new documents with no change tracking.
In wider news there continues to be consultation on the name for the development, in particular the most recent Barkham village newsletter has been campaigning for an “anything but Arborfield” name on the basis that most of the Crest Nicholson development is in Barkham parish. This of course ignores the fact that the Marino development is entirely in Finchampstead, and that all the previously developed Garrison land – Penrose Park and Poperinghe Way – are in Arborfield along with much of the existing housing within the SDL. The simple point to bear in mind is that the powers that be can pick any name they like, but the name that will stick will be the one people use, and the vast majority of existing residents of the SDL regard themselves as living in Arborfield.
Another name that is up for discussion is the name of the new school, which has produced much debate on the Parental Reference Group page on Facebook. Like it or not the name will include the name of the education provider – Bohunt Education Trust. For those wondering where the name comes from, the Bohunt School was the original school which became and academy to found the chain, and that is named after Bohunt Manor which provided land for the original school in Liphook.
Finally, don’t forget that next week, from August 3rd until August 23rd the A327 towards Reading will be totally closed near the Magpie and Parrot for the flood relief work that is required as part of the building of the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road. Hopefully the decision to close the road during summer holidays will minimise the traffic disruption, but with such a significant closure there will inevitably be some problems.