Helping to protect Barkham's distinctive character
Message Board 06.03.2012
Planning Appeal: Gypsy Pitches
on land adjoining
229 Barkham Road
A planning application was submitted last year to use the two plots of land in Barkham Road between the thatched cottage and 229 Barkham Road.
There have been many previous applications for residential development and siting caravans on these plots, all of which have been refused by Wokingham Borough Council and have been dismissed at appeal. The latest application was also dismissed by the Planning Inspector in 2008. The Inspector agreed with the Borough that the site was part of an important strip of land separating Barkham from Wokingham – indeed it is a view widely shared by local residents.
This time round, the application is for stationing of caravans for residential purposes for 2 gypsy pitches together with the formation of additional hard standing and utility / dayrooms ancillary to that use. Unfortunately current national planning policy has allowed applications for gypsy pitches to override the normal planning processes. A recent case locally was the permission granted at appeal for 8 pitched at the site on Bearwood Road.
The appeal hearing will be on 20th & 21st March 2012 at the council offices in Shute End. It is essential that as many local residents as possible make their views known to the Inspector as soon as possible.
Comments can be sent using the following link, quoting reference 2163400:
or write direct to the Planning Inspectorate, using the references and headings below:
Mrs M.T. Scott
The Planning Inspectorate
3/20 Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Planning Application F/2011/1410 Land Adjoining 229 Barkham Road, Wokingham
Comments should emphasise two arguments:
- The two plots will mean the erosion of an important green gap separating the communities of Barkham from Wokingham.
- The immediate requirement for gypsy sites in Wokingham has already been fulfilled.
Please base your comments on the points below, but it is best if you use your own creativity to paraphrase the words as individual comments carry more weight than standard letters.
Message Board 06.03.2012
Development Watch Group vacancies
To help to continue the work of the group in protecting the semi-rural character of Barkham against the threat of encroaching urbanisation, we are looking for:
- one or (if a 'job share') several persons to take over the convenorship role
- additional team members to strengthen the group.
The principal activities of the convenor are:
- To coordinate communications between members of the group, principally by email, organising meetings as and when necessary.
- To monitor planning proposals affecting Barkham, particularly in relation to the Core Strategy, and advising members of the group of material developments.
- To suggest actions in response to development proposals which could have a detrimental impact on Barkham.
- To play a major role in drafting briefing materials for posting on the BVRA website.
- To maintain the electronic mailing list and to be responsible for sending email alerts to subscribers.
- To liaise as appropriate with relevant members of Barkham Parish Council.
- To sit on the BVRA Committee (four meetings per year).
If you are interested or would like more information, please contact any member of the BVRA committee.
Message Board 29.10.2011
Turkey and pig farm in The Coombes
The buildings on the turkey and pig farm in The Coombes include a mobile home for the accommodation of an agricultural worker's family. Permission for the structure was given in July 2009 for a temporary period of three years.
A planning application has now been submitted for permission to build a permanent agricultural worker's dwelling (2,100 sq. ft.) and detached double garage. The ground floor rooms would include a dining room, lounge, family snug, study and utility. The first floor accommodation would include three bedrooms (two en suite).
To see the application documents on the WBC website, please click here. These include plans and drawings of the proposed dwelling. To see a summary of the planning history of the site, please click here.
Any comments on the application should be sent to Wokingham Borough Council (ref. F/2011/2071)
by email at email@example.com or by post to
Development Control, Wokingham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, RG40 1BN.
There is also a comment form on the WBC website.
The planning issues arising include:
- the scale, form and appearance of the proposed dwelling;
- the impact on the quality and character of the surrounding countryside;
- location of the house within an Area of Special Landscape Importance;
- whether the size of the proposed dwelling is commensurate with the agricultural needs of the turkey and pig farm.
The deadline for receipt of comments is Wednesday 9th November.
Message Board 1.10.2011
New WBC public consultation on non-SDL sites
Wokingham Borough Council has launched a further public consultation on where to build an additional 1,500 houses in the locality outside the 4 SDLs.
As you know, 30 sites in, or immediately adjacent to, Barkham, with the capacity for 3,160 dwellings, have been put forward by developers.
For a map of specific sites in and around Barkham Hill please click here. (This map does not cover School Road or Langley Common).
Although comments on specific sites were invited in the recent consultation in July on the Managing Development Delivery Development Plan Document (MDD DPD), this was only one question (Q3) out of 183.
There is therefore the opportunity of a 'second bite of the cherry'. The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday 12 October.
The sites to be developed outside the 4 SDLs will be selected by the WBC Executive at a meeting on 27 October, although there will be a further public consultation on the sites chosen.
The latest consultation focuses on the potential for 'sustainable' development of each of the sites outside the SDLs which has been put forward.
The WBC consultation document (803 pages) contains spread sheets with pro forma sustainability appraisals of all the sites submitted. To see the sustainability appraisals on the 30 Barkham sites please click here.
It is readily apparent from the spread sheets that the sustainability appraisals amount to little more than a bland box-ticking exercise, and there is little difference between the appraisals of any of the sites.
Impact on Barkham
It is clear that:
(a) The green spaces around Barkham Hill and Langley Common are under direct threat of being built on. Virtually all the sites submitted on Barkham Road and in Sandy Bottom (behind Elizabeth Park) are in countryside adjacent to, but currently beyond, development limits, raising the prospect of Barkham Hill effectively becoming part of Wokingham.
(b) Further development will inevitably result in yet more traffic along residential roads in Barkham, which are already at full capacity at peak times, especially Barkham Road and Bearwood Road. This will be in addition to trying to cope with the extra traffic generated by the 3,500-5,000 new houses and flats to be built at Arborfield Garrison.
Have your Say
It is important to maximise our impact, especially in the light of the Government's proposals to relax planning controls to allow more development in the countryside.
It would therefore be very helpful if you could:
re-submit your comments on specific sites to Wokingham Borough Council, with any additional points you would like to make; and
submit new comments on one or two other sites close to where you live.
If you did not send any comments on specific sites in Barkham in July, you may care to send comments on (say) three or four sites close to where you live by reference to the list of sites by residential area above.
To help you to do this, you may like to refer to the briefing notes on individual sites attached.
The message that needs to be driven home to Wokingham Borough Council is that the residents of Barkham wish to see Barkham's semi-rural character protected from encroaching urbanisation. The building of more new houses on 'greenfield' sites in, or adjacent to, Barkham is therefore unacceptable.
In particular, it is essential that the Council should be urged to designate the area between Barkham Hill and Wokingham as a green gap separating the two settlements.
Comments may be sent to WBC by email to the Land Use and Transport Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter addressed to:
Land Use and Transport Team,
Policy and Partnerships,
Wokingham Borough Council,
PO Box 157,