Wokingham Air Cadets could see base move to Norreys

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Members of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wing of the Air Cadets. Picture: J D Mack/Flickr

A PLANNING application which could see a facility for Wokingham’s young people move from Carnival Pool to Norreys has been submitted.

The South East Reserve Forces Cadet Association (SERFCA), which has been based at the Wellington Road site for more than 20 years, submitted plans yesterday (Thursday) for a new facility in Elizabeth Park, in Norreys.

The application comes as SERFCA and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) reached an agreement for a new building to be constructed on the council-owned land as a condition for the cadets being moved out of the current site.

The new building, which would replace the current derelict pavilion, would provide a combined facility for both the Army Cadet Force (ACF) and Air Training Corps (ATC) units.

Cllr Mark Ashwell, deputy executive member for regeneration and communities, said: “We are planning to build a large leisure centre at the Carnival Pool site, so we knew it would be difficult for the Cadets to remain on site as we want to provide them with the adequate space they deserve.

“However, we’re keen they remain in the town as they provide a fantastic service for Wokingham’s young people. We talked to SERFCA to look at alternative sites and we all agreed Elizabeth Park in Norreys was a great location. It’s close to the town centre and at the heart of an existing community with young people, who will be able to benefit from the Cadet’s relocation.”

The plans include the construction of a new pre-fabricated building which would be built in place of the existing derelict pavilion, which would be demolished as part of the initial works. The application would also see improvements to onsite parking with an additional three parking spaces, including one disabled space, and cycle parking.

The council and SERFCA have also liaised with Reeves Rangers FC, who currently use the site, and they have been assured that their activities will not be affected by the move.

To view the planning application visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-application/search-planning/applications and search for planing application number 150044.

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Jon Lambert

The application makes a number of incorrect and misleading statements and has several omissions. An ATC Squadron can host up to 200 cadets. By deciding the access is sufficient for the current lower number there is absolutely no provision for a rise in numbers (for both services) which can reasonably be expected to follow the move to modern premises. The rise in profile and exposure that the cadets’ relocation will generate is likely to draw more members. Additionally the rise in population in the Wokingham area, facilitated by the regeneration and development currently in progress, will also generate extra membership.… Read more »