The Wokingham Paper

Campaigners’ meetings to help fight against Ruscombe developments


Three new public meetings about 3500 new homes being possibly built on greenbelt in Ruscombe have been organised.

The Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham wants to update people about their campaign and hold question and answer sessions to deal with concerns.

The first of the three meetings was held as The Wokingham Paper went to press on Wednesday, February 14.

The second took place on Saturday, February 17 at 10am at Loddon Hall, Twyford and the final one will be on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm in the Twyford Room at Loddon Hall.

The campaign will be writing to area MP Theresa May asking for her support to oppose the housing.

“I want her unequivocal support,” said Campaign director Councillor John Halsall.

Speaking earlier this year, Mrs May told The Wokingham Paper that the greenbelt would be safeguarded as much as possible, with the emphasis on building on areas suitable for housing.

She said: “The important thing is that we build homes but we build homes in the right place.

“I still believe it’s important to protect greenbelt – I had a meeting … with the leader of Wokingham Borough Council about Wokingham borough’s proposals for building more homes, about the potential that they’ve shown for Ruscombe – but Wokingham does have other areas where it will be capable for building significant numbers of homes.”

Cllr Halsall appealed for residents to add their names to the campaign’s email distribution list via the CPRW website. Then in March or April residents will be invited to sign the Campaign petition to Wokingham Borough Council.

The Campaign has appointed top barrister, Chris Katkowski QC, known as Kit Kat, to advise them.

Campaign director Cllr Halsall said: “He is one of the leading QCs in planning terms in the UK, he’s said to be the best.”

The Campaign has also set itself up as a company limited by guarantee, helping safeguard donors’ money.  It will have no paid directors or employees. It has though appointed the barrister and a planning agent. The chairman is Colin Bell of Ruscombe.

Cllr Halsall would not reveal how much money the campaign has been pledged. “We have had quite a lot of response on money but we need to raise more funds if we are going to go the distance,” he said.

The latest Campaign message had gone out to 3,500 people.

The council is looking at a plan for 3,500 new Ruscombe homes. The area has been picked out along with land at Grazeley and Barkham for master planning.

The council says this would ensure schools, road and community facilities could be provided.

They are three of 260 borough sites put forward for development. The council will choose which of the 260 sites it favours and expects to ask borough residents their views in the late summer or autumn.

CPRW details are at their website: Donations can also be made there.

Their Facebook page has more than 1,100 followers.

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Alan Black

There’s lots of room to build housing stock in Scotland. Has anyone thought of that?

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