Many residents have responded to the Wokingham Borough Council draft Local Plan Consultation and are very concerned to see the Parish Council response. The Council is very aware there are some very strong feelings on the proposed sites in Charvil.
Below is the Council response to the section on the specific local sites in the Charvil area. If you would like to see the complete response to the other policies in the Local Plan please click Charvil Parish Council response. If you would like to look at the Draft Local Plan Document that lays out each policy, please click LPU Draft Plan Consultation – Jan 2020
“The Council understands the logic behind the reluctance to include sites that could, in future, erode the settlement gaps, even though on other criteria, they may be regarded as suitable for development.
However, the Council has greater concerns about building in flood zones, and including sites that have limited infrastructure to support them.
Our comments concentrate on the sites local to Charvil as follows:
5CV001 Land to the east and north of Park View Drive North
Although only the southern part of this site has been included in the sites for possible development, Council object to any of the site being developed. The area included in the plan is prone to flooding and is in flood zones 2 and 3. Even if efforts are made to build on the drier bits, with the likely rising water levels due to climate change, this would seem an unwise place to build, given that the Environment Agency have already made plans for a temporary flood barrier on the opposite side of the A4 for houses similarly placed on the edge of the flood plain.
The areas not included in the flood plain may be less prone to flooding but would make no sense at all for the coherence of the village, and there are two ancient monuments on this site so these could not be built over. A further concern about this site is that it would be a loss of open countryside and would have an adverse effect on wildlife in the wetland corridor. The access onto the A4 would either have to mean the removal of trees with TPO’s on them onto the narrow Park View Drive North, or another junction onto the A4 where it is already busy and would compromise the cycle/pedestrian route to school for many children. This in turn may affect the ability of the borough to reach its climate change targets, as more parents will end up driving their children to school.
The Parish Council also shares some residents’ concerns that some of the data is incorrect, in that there is now no longer a hall in the north side of the village, as the Borough gave it permission to be replaced with five more homes.
Many residents near to the second large site in Charvil, the land west of Park Lane (5CV002) have cited the poor road infrastructure in the area as a serious impediment to the further development on this small but busy road, and the Council shares the concerns of residents that the road infrastructure serving both of these major sites is inadequate to deal with a possible extra 350 vehicles from these developments. The A4 is already near capacity in the mornings and evenings, and with the proposed developments in all the sites in the north of the Borough, its ability to cope with s substantial increase in local traffic must be called into question without major improvements.
Park Lane is narrow and has serious constraints at either end of it, and there is little alternative for most people in this area to travel by car as the majority do not see cycling or walking as safe alternatives with the present infrastructure. This means that the levels of pollution at the northern end of Park Lane are likely to increase to dangerous levels as traffic tries to access Old Bath Road, accidents are more likely to happen as vehicles try to access Park Lane from the side roads, and also when negotiating the railway bridge to the south.
Charvil has, in the recent past, been seen to be a Tier 3, Limited Development Location, which has limited developments to 25 homes. This was why the successful appeal to allow development on the site was limited to 25 homes – without the limit, there would have undoubtedly been pressure for a larger development.
Given that no improvements to infrastructure have been forthcoming to change this position, the Parish Council feels that a further 75 homes is at odds with the village’s current status, and that a maximum of 50 would be as much as both the site and the village could bear – the amount would preferably be 25 in line with the policy for Tier 3 settlements. The Parish Council do also share residents’ concerns about the lack of other amenities, including the pressures on local schools, and medical facilities, but understand the latter is not in the gift of the Borough Council – it is nevertheless a serious issue.
The Parish Council supports the designation of the other sites in Charvil (5CV004 and 5CV005) as being unsuitable for development and the site west of Milestone Avenue (5SO004) as unsuitable.”