This week I should like to focus on an important milestone reached for our Borough with the approval of planning permission for the Arborfield Green District Centre at the Wokingham Borough Council Planning Committee held on October 11.
This approval follows nearly Eighteen Months of hard work by the new Lib Dem led administration on Wokingham Borough Council to ensure we give a real ‘heart’ to the new community. When we took over it had all but stalled as the previous administration had not got to grips with this project and we are very pleased that we have been able to make progress. It’s taken longer to get to this point than expected because of the knock backs to the economy in recent years from Covid-19, and cost of living crisis etc., but Wokingham Borough officers, Wokingham Borough and Parish Councillors for the area and the developers Crest have all worked hard to reach this milestone.
With the permission in place, we will now work with the developers and the local community to make the best of the opportunity we now have. That means our officers and Wokingham Borough Councillors for the area continuing to work with Crest and local representatives and groups to bring forward the new community facilities with the range of uses local people want to see provided and we want to encourage our local businesses to contact Crest about the new shops and commercial space coming online in the next couple of years.
The District Centre will include:
· A new purpose-built early years facility.
· A supermarket (Sainsbury’s have shown strong interest in this facility)
· A public House
· 18 commercial units
· Community Centre and early years Nursery
· 206 new homes (both Houses and flats) which includes affordable housing.
· pedestrian and cycle connections throughout.
Work is scheduled to commence in early 2024 and is expected to take up to three years to complete. This will be provided in three phases.
Phase 1. This includes the majority of the commercial units and would enable the Supermarket and Public House to progress, plus half of the new homes, including the bulk of the affordable housing.
Phase 2. The remainder of the commercial units, Community Centre, Nursery and pre-school, plus 58 homes.
Phase 3. The remaining 45 new homes including the rest of the social housing.
There will be a more sustainable approach to living, with improved insulation leading to lower levels of energy used for heating, and to lower energy costs. Each new home will be provided with a cycle parking space and EV charging point. Biodiversity will be increased with the provision of new trees, a wildflower meadow and sustainable drainage. All facilities that are needed for the future.
Cllr Lindsay Ferris
WBC Exec Member for Planning & Local Plan
& Lib Dem member for Twyford