SAVE OUR OAKS: Angry protestors to gather in bid to save Woodcray Meadows

Demonstration will take place on Saturday, March 9, at 11am

OBJECTORS to a massive new housing estate on a popular green space have praised local people for backing their campaign.

Hundreds of yellow ribbons have appeared on trees, gates and fences around Wokingham in protest to plans by Gladman Developments to build 216 homes on Woodcray Meadows east of Finchampstead Road.

It follows an appeal by the Save Woodcray Countryside Campaign Group for people to display the colourful ribbons as a sign they oppose the development.

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.

A spokesperson for the Save Woodcray Countryside Campaign Group said: “We are overjoyed to see so many people responding to our appeal.

Yellow ribbons have been tied to trees in Finchampstead Road as residents fight plans to build 216 homes on Woodcray Meadows

“Finchampstead Road and surrounding streets are ablaze with yellow ribbons on trees, gates and fences.

“They send out a clear message that enough is enough. We want to thank everyone who has responded and hope even more people will do the same.”

The group say they are angry with Luckley House School which they claim was originally against development of Woodcray.

The spokesperson added: “It seems the school has now teamed up with Gladman to give it a new playing field in exchange for pedestrian access through the school site to Luckley Road.

“We have repeatedly asked the school to meet with us and listen to our concerns over what hundreds of houses will mean to the area, but they refuse to engage with us. That is an insult to local people.”

The group has organised a demonstration this Saturday, March 9 starting at 11am. They are asking people to join them on the Finchampstead Road on the Green near the banner in between Woodcray Football Golf Course and Hart Dyke Close.

Yellow ribbons have been tied to trees in Finchampstead Road as residents fight plans to build 216 homes on Woodcray Meadows

The spokesperson for the Save Woodcray Countryside Campaign Group continued: “So far we have had confirmation that there will be Wokingham Borough Councillors, Wokingham Town Councillors and of course lots of residents attending.

“Not only is this demo to show support that we do not want the Woodcray Meadows site developed, we also feel it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness and show that Wokingham residents as a whole do not want houses to be built on unsustainable locations.

“We are not against development, we are against development in areas where there is not the infrastructure to support it.  Everyone who lives near Woodcray needs a car to reach the doctors, the dentists, the shops, schools or the station.

“Finchampstead Road is already stationary every morning and traffic often crawls in the evening too.

“Cars churn out pollution and the air on this road regularly exceeds legal limits.  That’s not good for anyone.  The bus service is almost non-existent, and the road is not wide enough for a cycle lane. The pavement is only about three feet wide in places, so it’s not very safe to walk either, especially with children.  Wokingham Council has recognised that Woodcray is not a suitable area for a large housing development, yet Gladmans and the landowner don’t seem to be listening.  We hope that this demo will show the extent of public feeling about this issue.”

Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner, whose Wescott Ward includes the proposed development, said: “I’m saddened that Gladmans has sought to put in another planning application without any sort of engagement with the residents and I am determined to ensure that this ill-thought out application is refused as it was last time.”

The Wokingham Paper has repeatedly asked both Luckley House School and Gladman Developments for a comment but both have declined.

For further information on the campaign search for the Save Woodcray Countryside Campaign Group on Facebook or email: northernland@hotmail.co.uk

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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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