Residents turn out in force over plans to build 216 homes on Woodcray Meadows

COUNCILLORS, cuddly toys, and concerned neighbours came together on Saturday to show a united face against plans to build 216 homes in Wokingham.

As we reported last week, hundreds of yellow ribbons have appeared on trees, gates and fences around the Finchampstead Road in protest to plans by Gladman Developments to build 216 homes on Woodcray Meadows.

And last weekend, the residents came out in force to show just how strong their feelings were about the proposals. Organisers said they were delighted with the response to their call for action.

This is not the first time that Gladmans have proposed a development on this site: a previous application for 250 homes has already been refused by Wokingham Borough Council and campaigners say they are “furious” a second attempt has been lodged.

Campaigners are particularly angry over what they claim is a partnership between Gladman and Luckley House School to give it a one hectare playing field in return for pedestrian access through the school site, to Luckley Road.

Saturday’s event saw Conservative and Liberal Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder in protest.

Cllr Sarah Kerr (Evendons, Liberal Democrat) said: “Lots of residents have been in touch with me it.

“This will have great impact on residents.

“We already have huge issues with congestion here on Finchampstead Road. The 216 homes would have a negative impact.”

And Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner (Wescott, Conservatives), said: “Residents have raised this with me in their droves. They’re totally against these speculative developments.

“Gladmans have tried this application before, it got refused before. They’ve now put in another speculative application, this time for three-storey houses instead of two in an area that’s completely unsustainable. The road can’t cope with it.

“We need to stop it. I’m really pleased with the number of people who have come out here today to support the campaign.”

Clarissa Flynn, a resident, was determined to help protect the environment around the Finchampstead Road: “The trees are very precious to us. Some of them are 150 years old and relate to our history.

“It would be a tragedy if they were chopped down.

“We’ve had a lot of development in Wokingham, I think there needs to be a pause now and look at what we’re doing.

“I’m here to support our trees, our countryside and our precious environment.”

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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