2018 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Minutes

Here are the minutes from our 2018 AGM. AGM 2018 Minutes

Below are links to download PDF's mentioned in the AGM Minutes
Accounts 2017-18
Air Pollution Presentation

February 2019

Development & Planning Have Your Say Meeting 7 th February

Wokingham Development Meeting Flyer

Further housing developments and road changes are planned locally that WILL impact those who live or work in Crowthorne.

Wokingham Without and Crowthorne Parish Councils have arranged a public meeting for you to view plans and air your views and concerns.

Thursday 7 th February 2019
7PM to 9PM
Morgan Centre
Wellington Road
Crowthorne
RG45 7LD

Crowthorne Parish Council

Wokingham Without Parish Council

February 2019

Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan

A draft copy of the Crowthorne neighbourhood plan will be published for consultation on 4 February. A copy together with guidance on how to respond is expected to be on the CPC website next week. There will also be exhibitions at the Morgan Centre; on Tuesday 5 March 2019 from 6pm to 7.30pm and on Saturday 16 March 2019 from 12 mid-day until 3pm when you can consult with members of the working party.

This is important as it contains guidelines for new developments in the Crowthorne Parish Council part of Crowthorne Village. Once approved it has weight in considering future planning applications. We will let you have further information when it is available.

February 2019

Recent BFC and WBC Planning Applications

There are some new Planning Applications for business properties at the mini roundabout at the North of the High Street and on the L&G land (Bucklers Park) which would be worth reviewing

  • BFC-18/00536/FUL to convert the Police Station into a Motor Parts Trade Counter
  • BFC-18/01081/FUL to convert Lloyds Bank Branch into a Dominos Takeaway Pizza outlet
  • BFC-18/01237/REM A new care home at the Buckler's Park
  • BFC-19/00065/REM the Buckler's Park primary school
  • WBC-190101 Land at Oak Apples, Oaklands Lane, RG45 6JX

The one for Dominos is a concern as it includes only limited space for staff, including the delivery mopeds and no parking for customers collecting orders. The assumption appears to be that they will use the nearby public car parks.

To access Planning Applications visit
BFC Planning Website
WBC Planning Website

February 2019

Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan

A draft copy of the Crowthorne neighbourhood plan will be published for consultation on 4 February. A copy together with guidance on how to respond is expected to be on the CPC website next week. There will also be exhibitions at the Morgan Centre; on Tuesday 5 March 2019 from 6pm to 7.30pm and on Saturday 16 March 2019 from 12 mid-day until 3pm when you can consult with members of the working party.

This is important as it contains guidelines for new developments in the Crowthorne Parish Council part of Crowthorne Village. Once approved it has weight in considering future planning applications. We will let you have further information when it is available.

February 2019

Breaking News !

At a meeting at Edgebarrow school on Wednesday it was announced that as from 1 st February 2019, Ringmead Medical Practice will be taking over the NHS contract from Heath Hill Surgery. Ringmead are a well-established Bracknell practice which already run surgeries in Ringmead, Great Hollands and provide medical services to the 1200 students at Wellington College. The transfer was expected to take several months but, for some reason which was never fully explained, it had to be expedited and completed within days. Ringmead have pledged that Heath Hill Surgery will remain open, although possibly renamed. Existing staff will be retained and supplemented by additional resources from Ringmead. All patients currently registered with Heath Hill Surgery will be receiving a letter explaining the changes and asking if they would register with Ringmead.

February 2019

Buckler's Park

On December 5 th, 2018, members attended the stakeholders meeting for Bucklers Park.

Residents have started moving in. 19 homes are already occupied, and 3 more will be occupied this month.

Buckler's Forest is now open and proving very popular for walkers, who have made many positive comments about the walks. There are several kilometres of neat gravel-paved walks and lots of trees, both semi-grown and 'saplings', have been planted. Saplings lost due to the dry summer will be replaced whilst it was remarked that some willows near the many ponds and water courses are doing much better. This area is created as suitable alternative natural greenspace (commonly known as SANG). – in other words, an alternative to the Special Protection Area (across the Bracknell Road) so that people and dogs can take a walk without disturbing protected ground nesting birds. If you haven't been for a walk through Buckler's Forest you should.  It is really pretty already - and will be even nicer when the new landscaping has matured.

Phase two of the building has begun but like many other builders Legal and General Homes (L&G) are having trouble finding bricks to match the ones used so far!

The applications for the community hub, school, tennis courts and allotments will be submitted to Bracknell Forest Council before Christmas (There is more about the Community Centre 'Hub' below). L&G hope to start the school in March 2020 and open it by September 2021. Four of the modular houses are already in place, with a further four to be put up by January next year.

The location of the retail units together with their car parking has been rethought and now will be close to the school and community hub so that proper integrated car parking can be facilitated. The area off the Old Wokingham Road which was intended to be for retail units is now destined to hold a restaurant/gastro pub.

December 2018

Buckler's Park Community Hub

On 29 th Nov a member of the CVAG Committee joined representatives from CPC WWPC and BFC for a long and really interesting meeting about the design of the community hub. The hall will be much the same size as that at Jennett's Park.

Plans for the hub, prepared by Stride Treglown (L&G's appointed architects) were studied, leading to the consensus that it is moving towards a result, but there were many concerns on the location of elements in the internal layout and about the external play area. If possible, views from the café inside the building should be of Buckler's Forest and the children's play area and not the car parks

The funding of the second phase might need to be rethought as it is supposed to come from the building of houses in the Broadmoor Walled Garden, that is now looking 'uncertain', as BFC have belatedly realised that it is listed, something which CVAG have been telling them for several years.

Concerns were also raised as to whether the space was being properly utilised, and more research should be sought on what community bodies will be using the hub and how and when.

Regarding a flat or pitched roof, the consensus was that a flat (but sloping) roof is inevitable.  Apparently, the overall design style is compatible with the nearby residential and other buildings – though these have not yet reached the full planning stage, so we will have to wait and see.

December 2018

Other Matters

CVAG has also expressed concern about the very tall light posts along Old Wokingham Road but apart from receiving a letter from BFC explaining why they are so tall we have not yet come to a good conclusion.

L&G have received planning consent for a further 1500 houses in Finchampstead at the end of Nine Mile Ride and the start date for construction is January 7 th. Look out for even more traffic using nine mile ride!

December 2018

Triangle Forum

Triagle Forum

Some time ago a forum of residents and Councillors was set up to look at issues that cross boundaries in three areas, Crowthorne, Bracknell and Wokingham Without.

It's called The Triangle Forum. Clr. Angus Ross from Wokingham has set up a new meeting to take place on Monday 24th September, at 7-9 in the Baptist Church in the High Street.

The Police will also be sending representatives.

Residents are invited to attend and some of the CVAG committee will be there as well.

Please go along if you feel you would be interested.

September 2018

Air Quality

Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) have now published their 2018 report on air quality, which shows that in 2017 NO2 levels in our High street, although slightly better than the previous year, are still high. The area near the old Lightfoots Garage remains above the legal maximum for NO2.

Wokingham has published a report showing that in 2015 poor air quality has led to 11 preventable deaths per 100,000 people in Wokingham.

If the same figure applies to BFC, that would be just over a dozen people every year. We are still trying (and failing) to get BFC to take this seriously and propose some real action to meet their legal obligation.

September 2018

Strategic Gap

In July CVAG asked a question of Councillor Chris Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, relating to the proposal in the draft local plan to allow 500 homes at the Hideout, which is supposed to be part of a strategic gap between Crowthorne and Bracknell.

These strategic gaps are identified in the existing local plan and are supposed to be protected in order to prevent merging of settlements.

The answer could be summarised as "We've got to put the houses somewhere", so it appears that BFC don't even respect their own policies.

September 2018

Beaufort Park

An application has been submitted to demolish the office building at Beaufort Park and replace it with 68 homes. (18/00655/OUT). This is near the crematorium and coincidentally, also in the gap between Crowthorne and Bracknell.

This brand new office building, which has never been used, is described as exceptional office space, one of the most energy efficient offices in the Thames Valley. A local organisation, BSRIA, (Building Services Research and Information Association) would like to purchase it and move into it as their new international HQ, but it appears the owners would prefer to demolish it and build houses.

Considering the resources and energy which went into constructing it, it seems madness to demolish it before it is even used. What sort of sustainable urban planning is that?

We have submitted our objections and hope the application will be refused.

September 2018

North Wokingham Distributor Road Consultation

Wokingham Borough Council is hosting an exhibition about the North Wokingham Distributor Road (NWDR). The event will be specifically dedicated to providing information on the West of Old Forest Road and Toutley Road section as the council plans to submit its planning application for this part of the road later this year (winter 2018).

The exhibition is being held at Cantley House Hotel, Milton Road, Wokingham, on Wednesday 13 th June between 2pm and 8pm and Saturday 16 th June between 9am and 1pm.

June 2018

New Crowthorne fire station plans

Members of the committee visited the fire station to see the plans for redeveloping the building. It will be a two storey building and will incorporate space for the fire service, ambulance and police. It is hoped work will start next Easter and it will take a year to build.During construction the fire engines will be operating out of the grounds of Wellington College.

We will have copies of the proposed plans on our stall at the carnival, so if you missed the opportunity to go and see them at the fire station, come along and see us to talk about various plans and development sites in and around Crowthorne.

May 2018

Proposed redevelopment of Ravenswood Village

Members of the CVAG Committee attended the recent public exhibition held at the site and raised a number of our concerns with the representatives from the Norwood Charity (current operators of Ravenswood Village) and Charles Church (their development partner) as we assume other residents have also done.

As well as speaking to the Council’s planners the above parties are consulting local residents on their views as a Planning Application has yet to be submitted.

We did agree that the care provided at Ravenswood Village for adults with learning difficulties is worthy cause and understand the need to upgrade some of buildings to meet current care regulations.

If you missed the presentation by Ravenswood at our AGM earlier this month, we are hoping to get information for display on the CVAG 'stall' at the Crowthorne Carnival in July.

May 2018

Crowthorne Carnival 7 th July 2018

Please remember to drop in and see us at this event, we will be able to update you on various developments in the village including air pollution levels on the High St.

May 2018

Wokingham Borough Council - Comunity Forums

Dates for the next round of Community Forums

Wokingham Borough Council - Major Developments

Shinfield Parish
4 June 2018 from 7pm to 9pm
Three Mile Cross Church Centre

North Wokingham
11 June 2018 from 7pm to 9pm
Cantley House Hotel, Briar Suite

South Wokingham
20 June 2018 from 7pm to 9pm
Wokingham Library, carpark entrance

Arborfield
26 June 2018 from 7pm to 9pm
Arborfield Community Centre

May 2018

2017 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - Draft Minutes

Here are the minutes from our 2017 AGM. AGM 2017 Minutes

We look forward to seeing you this year. Details below

April 2018

Broadmoor stakeholders meeting 27 th March 2018

Several members of the committee attended this meeting to get an update on work at Broadmoor. We raised the matter of building houses in the Kitchen Garden, which is still subject to examination and public comment due to the Inspector at the last Local Plan hearings making this clear. So, should they put in an application, we will be objecting to any development on that part of the site.

It is hoped to move the patients into the new hospital later this year. This is later than originally planned and is due to several issues regarding safety, which need to be worked on so that all is safe on day one. Work cannot go on once the patients are inside.

Sebastian's Action Trust has taken over Kentigern House and hopes to be ready this summer. This is a worthwhile charity and we are pleased that they have found a site there.

Work has started at Cricket Field Grove although they are behind schedule. As yet there is no sales office.

The main concern is that so far there is nobody to take over the old hospital buildings, which are historically important and listed. It costs a lot to refurbish listed buildings and rumours of a hotel chain or offices are just that, rumours. When there is some news we will put it on the web site and tell our members.

April 2018

Draft Local Plan from Bracknell Forest Council

CVAG have submitted a response to the consultation on the Draft Local Plan from Bracknell Forest Council. This plan sets out the proposed strategy for housebuilding in the area up to 2034. Whilst that may seem a long time in the future, it is important to act now. Once an area is accepted in the plan as being suitable for development, it is very difficult to challenge it when a planning application is actually submitted.

Our main concerns are:

  • The draft plan omits the strategic gap which currently exists between Bracknell and Crowthorne. These strategic gaps are important as they preserve the independent identity of the villages surrounding Bracknell new town, preventing urban sprawl.
  • There is a proposal for 570 homes at the site of "The Hideout" restaurant, just north of nine Mile Ride. This extension of Bracknell would erode the gap which has previously existed between Crowthorne and Bracknell, threatening the corridor for wildlife to move between Swinley Forest and the farmland to the West of Bracknell.
  • The plan does nothing to address the problems of air quality in Crowthorne High Street. An Air quality Management Area (AQMA) has been declared as NO2 levels already exceed the National statutory limit, to the detriment of the health of everyone who uses the High Street. Adding additional traffic from new developments will make things even worse. We are calling on BFC to include a presumption against new development which would add additional traffic in the AQMA until they have brought things under control.

The full text of our response can be read here Response to Draft Bracknell Forest Local Plan Final

March 2018

Broadmoor as a "brownfield" site

As you may have seen in the recent Crowthorne Village Action Group (CVAG) Newsletter we raised serious concerns with Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) over its [erroneous] definition of Broadmoor as a "brownfield" site. We learned today that BFC have accepted they have made a mistake and have amended their policy accordingly.

This shows that well researched objections are accepted by the Council.

NB If you would like to support CVAG, you can join here

March 2018

CVAG AGM, 7:30 PM, Tuesday 1 st May 2018

If you would like to hear more about these issues and others please come along to our AGM at Coats Centre, Pinewood Ave, RG45 6RQ on Tuesday May 1 st.

After the formal business, we will have a discussion about these and other issues. We have also invited representatives from major developers to be present to answer questions from the floor.

Look forward to seeing you there !

March 2018

Legal and General stakeholders meeting

Several members of CVAG attend these meetings regularly.

The last one was held on March 7 th 2018 and we learnt the following:-

  • The site has been very wet over the last couple of months making it hard to use the vehicles.
  • They are using one of the top landscape contractors in the UK.
  • 2/3 of planting in the SANG has been done with a range of small and larger saplings. Next the areas to be seeded will take place and special features in the SANG will go in.
  • Phase 2 of the housing may be less than the 199 they proposed originally.
  • The first show home will be ready in April this year.
  • There has been planting of Spring bulbs.
  • They are currently working on revised drawings after comments from Bracknell.
  • There has been some interest in taking up retail units.
  • The Pinewood roundabout is to be tarmacked over 5 nights starting on 19 th March 2018.
  • Although they have used some of the old top soil, not much was really useful. They had some from the Bewley site on the other side of the New Wokingham Road, but mainly they will need to bring top soil in. This raises an alarming question about how many lorries will be on our roads to do this and what times they will all be travelling.
  • CVAG hope to have a further meeting with the team to discuss this matter and also to look at the phase 2 plans in more detail.

We will report to our members as soon as we know anything further.

March 2018

Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan

A representative of CVAG is on the working group and has attended several meetings. The next thing that will happen is that the AECOM agency will visit Crowthorne and they will do a character and heritage statement, using our Village Design Statement and Bracknell Forest design documents.

This statement will include for example the 8 Grade 2 listed buildings and 12 scheduled monuments, and it will make recommendations which the Plan can then convert into policy.
The Neighbourhood Plan will be in 6 sections.

  1. Design and Character
  2. Crowthorne High Street and Dukes Ride station
  3. Green infrastructure
  4. Community facilities
  5. Employment
  6. Infrastructure

It is proposed to hold a public meeting to obtain interest in the Neighbourhood Plan and gain members to work on each section. We don't have a date for this yet but we will inform our members when we hear and it will also be advertised on social media and relevant web sites.

March 2018

Crowthorne to be merged with Bracknell Town

The current local plan identifies key strategic gaps, including one between Crowthorne and Bracknell, as being necessary to preserve the distinct identities of the various villages surrounding Bracknell New Town.

The new Draft Local Plan, currently open for consultation, drops the gap between Crowthorne and Bracknell from the list of strategic gaps. In its place we have a proposal for a mini town of 570 new homes on the last remaining green land between Bracknell and Crowthorne, currently occupied by “The Hideout” Thai restaurant.

Consultation is open until 26 th March and if you wish to object you can register your objection online at Draft Bracknell Forest Local Plan.

March 2018

Air pollution in Crowthorne High Street exceeds statutory limit

You may have seen the recent programme on BBC, "Fighting for air", about a suburban high street with NO2 levels above the statutory limit, and the attempt by the local community to combat it. Well, we have the same problem in Crowthorne.

A measurement in 2015 showed the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) level in Crowthorne High Street was just on the legal maximum of 40 µgm/m 3. In an attempt to reduce it the council replaced the speed bumps with speed cushions. Measurements in 2016 show that pollution in the high street has risen and is now 50 µgm/m 3, which is 25% above the legal threshold.

Hardly surprising considering all the new development in the area! Nationally, bad air quality causes 40,000 premature deaths per year, adds £20 Billion the to the NHS bill and contributes to asthma and ADHD in children. This affects every man women or child who walks along our high street. We want to know what the council are doing about it, and so far we haven't got answers.

March 2018

Brownfield Registers

Brown Field Register

All councils have a statutory duty to produce a Brownfield register, a list of previously developed “brownfield” sites in their areas which are suitable for residential development. Bracknell Council published their list and,guess what, 2/ 3 of the brownfield land in all of Bracknell Borough, is in Crowthorne. Of that, much of it is within 400m of the SPA, where residential development is expressly forbidden. Much of the rest is Broadmoor and its historic garden, which are listed and protected by law. These should not have been included in the register of Brownfield sites suitable for residential development. We've written to Bracknell council asking them to review their register, but so far we haven't got an answer.

March 2018

What happens to our recycling?

RE3 Site Visit

In January this year members of the CVAG committee visited the RE3 recycling centre at Smallmead to see for ourselves what happens to the waste we all put into our recycling bins. RE3 is a partnership between a commercial recycling company, FCC, and 3 Borough councils, Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell. All our recycling is taken there and in 2016 they processed nearly 200,000 tonnes. Their aim is to recycle as much as possible, protecting the environment and saving money, as waste sent to landfill attracts a tax, currently £84/tonne. Currently they are achieving recovering 84% of the recycling. After a very informative presentation we were taken to see the process. Dressed in high vis jackets, hard hats, gloves, steel toe type boots, emergency position indicators and earphones to be able to hear our guide, we set off.

The sorting of the recycling material is done by a huge machine, 3 storeys high and approximate 100 yards wide. All the recycling is tipped in at one end. Most of the sorting is mechanised although some has to be done manually. Before it goes into the sorting machine, manual pickers are removing things, such as large metal objects, which would damage the machinery. It then goes into a large rotating drum which separates objects onto different sizes. A magnetic separator separates steel cans from aluminium cans. A high speed optical sensor separates the four different kinds of recyclable plastic. The speed at which it does this is incredible to behold. At the end the separated waste is compressed into bales before being sold for re use. Much of that which can’t be recycled is sent to an incinerator near the M25 where it is burned to produce electricity which is then fed back into the National grid, producing enough power for town the size of Slough.

Did you know that;

  • aluminium drinks cans sells at £1,000 a bale at the moment.
  • steel food cans are less valuable, but still useful.
  • even street sweepings are now recycled.
  • rolled or flattened cardboard is easier to for them to handle, rather than cut to the size of our boxes.
  • newspaper is best recycled within 4 weeks. After that it becomes more difficult to remove the print.
  • Wet paper causes them a problem as it sticks to the machinery. Recycling rates from Wokingham residents drops considerably in the winter when contents of the black recycling bins get wet. The other two Boroughs use covered wheelie bins, which is much preferred for recycling.

Thanks to the general Manager Adrian Clarke for a very informative visit.

January 2018