October Community Forum

Last night was the next Arborfield Community Forum. This used the new marketplace model with stands for each topic rather than presentations. However there were several key bits of information that came out.

Probably the most significant bit of news is that Crest Nicholson have secured the Barkham Square site with a view to putting an additional 800 houses onto the site. Crest are already in consultation with the council about the site meeting part of the next cycle of housing development for the borough. The site had already been listed as one of their major strategic development sites alongside sites around Twyford and Grazeley, given that Barkham Square is an expansion of an existing development it is probably the least controversial of the proposals across the borough.

There was also news about the other part of the existing strategic development location, which was put through planning by the Marino Family who currently own the Hogwood Farm site. Also present at the Community Forum were representatives of Legal and General who are currently developing the TRL site in Crowthorne. Prior to last night we’d heard rumours that the Marino Family were selling the land, at the Community Forum it was confirmed that Legal and General were buying the site and are going to be developing the project. This hopefully will allow key parts of the southern part of the SDL to be moved forward, in particular the missing section of the Nine Mile Ride Extension which amongst other things will make access to Bohunt School a lot easier from Finchampstead.

Across the rest of the development Crest offered an update on the next phases of the work up to March 2018. Key upcoming phases are a number of parcels along Biggs Lane, in particular the new primary school. They are also moving forward on the controversial parcel based around the current Church Car Park, and a parcel beyond the current gates on Princess Marina Drive.

The Borough Council had a number of displays at the Community Forum. Firstly they had a display of the ongoing changes at California Country Park. This included details of the street lighting proposals for the California Greenway. Unfortunately they are still very much proposals, which renders the viability of the Greenway as a safe route from Bohunt School for Finchampstead students pretty moot.

They also had a display of the Arborfield Cross Relief Road plans which are currently going into a detailed design phase ready for a planning application in the winter. The council was also promoting the new Arborfield Leisure Centre, which is rather optimistically being described as being on Sheerlands Road – it’s actually along the Nine Mile Ride Extension and is a similar concept to the leisure facilities at St Crispins making use of the sports all and all weather pitches built as part of Bohunt School.

The council were also giving out documents for two important consultations. The first is as a result of the significant cuts being made to the money Wokingham Borough receives from central government. This means that the council is consulting on what cuts to make, or whether to increase council tax or to increase or add charges for council services. The consultation can be filled in online.

The second consultation is on the borough plans for Transport and Highways, which includes the gem of a question “How often do you find your car journey affected by road works in Wokingham Borough?”. Again this consultation can be filled in online.


Also published on Medium.

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