Arborfield and Barkham are working together to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
Some residents may remember that this project was started about 4 years ago, but work on the Neighbourhood Plan at that time was overtaken by the uncertainties associated with development proposed at Arborfield Garrison and by the Arborfield Bypass consultation. Both these issues are now more settled, and work on the Neighbourhood Plan was restarted about 6 months ago.
With the Borough Council now in the process of developing the Local Plan Update, which will guide the future development of Wokingham Borough up to 2036, this is a very good time to be gathering our opinions and sharing them with the Borough Council.
Latest News - Arborfield and Barkham residents have their say
Many thanks to those residents who attended the “Shaping Our Future” event held on 30 September where there was a plenty of intense discussion about the Neighbourhood Plan, and a range of related issues, by residents of the two parishes.
Pop-up events are also being held at Henry Street Garden Centre 10:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday 14, 21 and 28 September and there will be another display at the Community Centre 12.00 noon to 3pm on 14 September. Everyone who missed the original event is welcome to attend and ask questions.
[The Steering Group is seeking feedback on the ideas presented. Comment forms, in the form of a flyer, have been distributed to households and businesses and there is an online version here on this website.
The final date for comments is 5th November and the exhibition boards can also be viewed here on this website.
We would particularly like comments on the Vision and Objectives (see below)]
Development was a hot topic, particularly following the recent announcement that Barkham Square is being assessed by the planners when the building of Arborfield Green is only in the early stages. “Why is Barkham being targeted again?” asked one resident while another said he had “moved here to be in the country and soon it will be part of Reading”.
There was concern that all this development was progressing without WBC listening to the residents. One resident, citing a recent appeal in Barkham Road, questioned if the effort was worthwhile as “wasn’t Barkham Square already a done deal?”.
Meanwhile there were worries about the loss of countryside and building on flood plains.
Traffic congestion, inevitably, was another hot topic, especially following the number of road works around the area. “Will it ever end? The building has only just begun” was a typical comment.
There was criticism that developers seem to focus on building the more expensive types of houses and that there is still a lack of housing for first time buyers. Older people complained that they were unlikely to downsize as there were no suitable properties being built – “no bungalows” said one.
There was a lot of irritation that there is still no firm plan for a medical centre at Arborfield Green. Residents feel short changed about this: “We were told that redeveloping the garrison would provide facilities for the local community. It is not happening” was one comment.
There was more a more upbeat response to the new Bohunt School but this was tempered by many complaints about access routes. There are still not safe routes for pupils living in Arborfield Green, let alone for more distant parts of the parishes. Timings of the buses and poor punctuality were also criticised.
The new greenway from Finchampstead and the expansion of the network across Arborfield Green was welcomed as a means of creating safe cycling and walking routes. Some specific problems emerged about crossings on main roads and gates that were difficult to negotiate.
Some other issues raised included the slow roll out of fast broadband and concerns about maintenance of sports pitches. There was impatience to learn more about what is proposed for the new District Centre at Arborfield Green.
“It was a very successful event” said Laurence Heath, Chairman of the NP Steering Group “and there will be a lot of challenges ahead. It is not helped that government housing policy is incoherent, allowing land owners and their agents to make money out of land, while failing to address the key issues of providing the right kind of houses in the right places at the right prices.”
These have been developed from the responses to the Residents’ Survey and we need to check with you that we’re heading in the right direction before we write the detailed policies.
Many may seem to be largely self-evident but, when the plan gets to Public Examination, it will be necessary to demonstrate that we have consulted on them.
A sustainable future for Arborfield and Barkham as a thriving and accessible community, managing development to be inclusive for all age groups and enhancing the identity and rural setting of the villages.
Protecting identity and rural setting of the villages
Thriving community (includes community facilities and recreation)
Accessibility (transport and greenways)
Managing development (housing, design and parking)
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