Wokingham Refuses Bus Rapid Transit Scheme for Second Time

BBC Berkshire  

The proposal is included in the Core Strategy

Plans for a £20m riverside travel route connecting two Berkshire boroughs have been blocked by councillors.

A proposal for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) between Reading and Wokingham was refused by Wokingham’s planning committee on Wednesday night.

Reading Borough Council has already approved the scheme.

However, Wokingham councillors voted 6-3 against the plan. The authority had received more than 300 objection letters citing environmental concerns.

Members of the public booed at the start of the meeting when they were told the scheme had been recommended for approval by planning officers, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

In a council report, planning officers said the proposal for the route along the Thames for buses, cyclists and pedestrians “would encourage a model shift to public transport”.

They added that “additional planting” had been included in the plan since it was last refused by councillors in June.

But the meeting heard representations against the plan pointing to the potential environmental impact and changes to the landscape.

Councillor Andy Croy said: “It still looks like a concrete jungle being dumped onto Wokingham Borough by our neighbours… and it is still a road, not an MRT.”

Members of the public cheered and clapped when the decision to refuse the application was made.

Details of the scheme were first published in July 2016 as a solution to congestion problems in Reading.

Lodge Hill Medway – Down from 5,000 to 2,000 to 500 Homes to Protect Nightingale SSSI

This the site where George Osbourne threatened Natural England and they rightly did there statutory job.  Medway is annoyed as they now have to find 1.500 houses elsewhere in their local plan.

Homes England

Homes England has proposed a new approach to the Lodge Hill development on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway, which will avoid direct Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) impacts on the Lodge Hill site.

Following further careful consideration of the environmental sensitivities in and around the site, the new plans are for up to 500 new homes, rather than the 2,000 originally proposed.

Prior to the submission of a planning application, Homes England will develop the masterplan proposals in more detail, which will be presented as part of a public consultation. It will also continue to promote the site through Medway Council’s Local Plan process.

Ken Glendinning, Head of Strategic Land, at Homes England said:

“We remain committed to creating new homes at Lodge Hill in line with the government’s policy on use of surplus land, and we have always been aware of the sensitivities surrounding the important environmental elements of this development. After careful consideration, we believe that this approach will avoid any impact on the SSSI, while still making an appropriate contribution to Medway’s housing need for local people.

“We are grateful to all of our stakeholders and partners, including Natural England, for their support and advice to date.”

Homes England will look to consult on development proposals for the site in 2019 through contact with stakeholders including local residents.