The current consultation is entitled Right Homes, Right Places: Local Plan Update Revised Growth Strategy Consultation Nov 2021-Jan 2022 and updates that consulted upon during the period Feb 2020–Mar 2020. This was made necessary as the mainstay of the earlier draft – a garden town at Grazeley – is no longer achievable because the Urgent Action Area and Detailed Emergency Planning Zone around the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield has since been re-determined.
Some 15,513 dwellings will be built across the Borough during the period 2018/19 to 2037/38 – a requirement that is set by central government.
It is now proposed that this will be achieved by continuing to build out the four existing Strategic Development Locations (SDL) with some additional housing, a fifth SDL centred on Hall Farm, Arborfield and developing a number of smaller sites. Hall Farm will ultimately deliver 4,500 dwellings but it is anticipated that only 2,200 will be built in the current planning horizon to 2037/2038.
Barkham is a relatively small parish and a petition signed in 2018 by more than 4000 people expressed concern about the threat of overdevelopment in the immediate area with particular reference, at the time, to Barkham Square. Given the need to build this number of dwellings somewhere, Barkham Parish Council (BPC) is relieved that the current proposals spread the loading of new homes across the Borough.
BPC regrets any proposals that contravene the Policies of the joint Arborfield and Barkham Neighbourhood Plan and is minded that the issues raised by the Hall Farm proposals would apply equally to any such development in Barkham.
With respect to ‘sharing the load’, BPC feels it is necessary to comment on recent and misleading articles in the local press which need to be put into context. These articles imply that Barkham is only receiving 19 new dwellings under the revised growth strategy.
Under the original 2010 – 2026 Core Plan, 1800 dwellings were allocated to Barkham as part of the Arborfield Garrison SDL with another 1700 just over the parish boundaries.
Since then, the following have been added:
- The 19 dwellings referred to above.
- 140 dwellings on the Reading FC Training Ground which are now included as part of the Arborfield Garrison SDL.
- 270 dwellings at Rooks Nest Farm, which, although attributed to Finchampstead because of the nearby settlements, actually lie in Barkham.
- Other small privately led developments.
These extra 429 plus homes in addition to the original 1800, giving a total of 2229 dwellings, represents a very significant loading in the area. The resulting increase in traffic, swelled by the new developments just on the parish boundaries, will add further to the congestion of the residential roads that feed into the area.
Should the current version of the draft LPU not be adopted, then other sites in Barkham could be re- considered such as those on School Road (x4), Edneys Hill and Barkham Square.
The consultation period closes on Monday 24 Jan 2022 so residents should submit any comments by then. If you have any questions re the Draft Local Plan Update or need help in locating the relevant documentation then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the consultation response submitted by Barkham Parish Council to WBC please click here