There has been much talk on social media recently regarding the Arborfield Green District Centre. Barkham Parish Council, therefore, would like to take the opportunity to outline its understanding of the current position on the matter.
Most of the Strategic Development Area known as Arborfield Green lies within the parish of Barkham. As part of the development Crest Nicholson were required to build a District Centre. The delivery of the District Centre, however, is late. We have raised this with Crest on several occasions and they have said that the delay was primarily due to the uncertainty created by Covid in 2020 and 2021. We are not wholly convinced by this argument but must accept it and, in any event, the priority must be to move the project forward.
On 30th April 2022 Crest held a Public Consultation on the District Centre. This took the form of an exhibition in the existing Arborfield Green Community Centre off Princess Marina Drive / Sheerlands Road together with online access to the Crest proposal. The proposal consisted of several elements including a supermarket, a pub, retail units and a new community centre. The latter was to be housed in an existing, legacy building. Feedback could be provided via paper forms at the exhibition and online.
Between June and August Crest held several meetings to further refine their proposal based on the feedback that they had received. The number, timing and invitees to these meetings was solely at the discretion of Crest. Representatives of the parish council attended two meetings in July and one on 17th August. There have been no meetings since. Crest, understandably, required confidentiality to be observed on what was an emerging plan. This made it difficult for the parish council to provide updates to the residents of Arborfield Green.
In the absence of any further developments in September, the parish council arranged a meeting with WBC planning officers on 12th October. This meeting proved very useful, and we were grateful for the opportunity to meet with the officers. During the meeting the officers advised that they would be meeting with Crest soon and that a further Public Consultation based on the updated proposal was likely to follow shortly after that.
One of the difficulties that we have faced, as a council, is knowing what the Arborfield Green residents may or may not want. We have been unable to persuade Crest to share the results of the April feedback with us. In this respect, if/when there is a further consultation, we would encourage residents to send their feedback to both ourselves and to Crest. Comments to the council can be made by post or via email to:
Finally, we would wish to stress that we have been working tirelessly on the delivery of the District Centre for the benefit of the residents of Arborfield Green since April. However, it is important to understand that we do not have any direct authority to affect either the timelines or the eventual outcome.
We thank you for your support.