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 13th June between 2pm and 8pm and Saturday 16th 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

Wokingham Borough Council - Major Developments

North Wokingham Community Forum.

Wokingham Borough Council - Major Developments

Emmbrook senior school, main hall (please note it is at the senior school)
15 th November, 7pm – 9pm.

Marketplace Drop In, from 7pm to 8:30pm

Opportunity to stop by and speak with officers and guests on a range of topics relating to the north wokingham major development, including planning, highways, the allotments and other green infrastructure, a demonstration of our new major developments maps, an opportunity to take our budget and transport & highways surveys, and a developer update.

8:30pm – 9pm: Discussion session with Lead Executive Member Cllr David Lee, Executive Member for Strategic Highways and Planning

For more information, see the Wokingham Borough Council website.

November 2017

Neighbourhood Plan meeting 11 th October 2017

John Baster, Janet and Carole Doran attended the meeting last night on the update of the Neighbourhood Plan. We met Jon Dowty from O'Neill Homer Ltd, the company CPC have contracted to help with writing the Plan. He was most informative, informing us of the process of writing a Neighbourhood Plan, the background of planning issues in the Parish and in Bracknell Forest and identifying likely key objectives that the working group will look at.

They have worked on around 280 Neighbourhood Plans and have a thorough understanding of the process that will be required. Jon was particularly impressed with our Village Design Statement which, although out of date, will be used as part of the relevant documents about our village.

It was noted that CPC will be the qualifying body, ultimately responsible for actioning the final document, once the working party prepare a draft Plan and it has been through the correct procedure. This will include a period of examination by an inspector and a time when residents can vote on whether or not they accept the Plan.

It was an interesting meeting and Carole suggested that CVAG continues to have a member on the working group for this important document since CVAG suspect the work done and decisions made will in fact impact on the whole village, not just the CPC part of it. It would be helpful if Parish Councillors from Wokingham Without kept in touch with this process and have an input, even if they do not intend doing a Neighbourhood Plan for themselves.

Richard Price hopes that a pre-submission document will be ready by June 2018. We know how much work went into producing the Village Design Statement, but this time there are plenty of other Neighbourhood Plans we can look at and we will have help from Jon.

October 2017

Wokingham Borough Council - Major Developments

South Wokingham Community Forum - Marketplace Drop In

Wokingham Borough Council - Major Developments

4 th October at Wokingham Library, RG40 2BB (Denmark Street carpark entrance), 7pm – 9pm

Opportunity to stop by and speak with officers and guests on a range of topics relating to the South Wokingham Major Development, including a planning update, an update on the next phase of the South Wokingham Distributor Road which includes a bridge over the railway, a demonstration of our new major developments maps, and an update from Christ Church Wokingham on their ideas for the new community centre.

Lead Executive Member Cllr David Lee, Executive Member for Strategic Highways and Planning, will be available for questions.

For more information, see the Wokingham Borough Council website.

September 2017

2017 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - Draft Minutes

A big thank you to all of you who attended our AGM.

Also thanks to the following who atttended the meeting and agreed to field questions about their respective developments after the AGM

  • Stephen Chown who works for BFBC and is their Head of Parks & Countryside
  • Laura Ashton Planning Manager of Bewley Homes
  • Neil Montgomery Design & Construction Manager at the Broadmoor development
  • John Allan Managing Director of L&G Homes (Communities)

The minutes can be downloaded here AGM 2017 Minutes

September 2017

Changes to reporting of Planning Application to the public

Both Bracknell Forest Borough Council (BFBC) and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) have made changes to their system of reporting Planning Application to the public (That they must do BY LAW).

The following was received from Theresa Brown, Development Management, Wokingham Borough Council :-

From 29/08/2017 a weekly list of applications and decisions will no longer be produced and emailed to you. This information is now on our website which is updated daily. To search for the Weekly list of applications and decisions please go to http://planning.wokingham.gov.uk/FastWebPL/weeklylistapp.asp . Go back to start page, click on weekly list decisions and again view all decisions that have been made for the week.
If anyone has problems with viewing any information or has any queries regarding the new website planning search page please let me know and I will pass to the relevant department for the answers.

Crowthorne Parish Council informed us that although BFBC will not now mail a list of new planning applications, those in Crowthorne are available on the Parish Council web page http://www.crowthornepc.org.uk/planningapplications-2017.html and can be accessed from there.

September 2017