by Prue Bray on 27 January, 2022
Working my way through my thoughts on the different housing sites the council is proposing for Winnersh in the Local Plan Update, today we arrive at the land behind the Bulldog Garage. For those of you wondering, this land is basically the gap behind the BP petrol station and the body shop and showroom on Reading Road and the railway. The allotments and some paddocks used to be behind there, but the new North Wokingham Distributor Road has been built and now there is just a pocket of land left over from that. The council think they might get 25 houses on there. This is what I said about it in my consultation response.
I disagree slightly with this allocation. This is on the basis that I do not believe it is possible to create an access suitable to serve 25 units of housing. At the moment the land is associated with the building of the North Wokingham Distributor Road, which will open shortly. There is an access track into it from the new road. The requirements for an access road for housing – width, visibility etc. – coming off a busy main road at a point between a roundabout and the bridge over the railway would be far more onerous. There is no other feasible access point. I think that before this site is included it needs to be demonstrated that access is achievable.
If vehicle access is not achievable, then a footway/cycleway access could still be possible. In that case it may be a good idea to restore this land to its previous state i.e. fields, and include it as an area of potential green space. Alternatively, the council, as land owner, could explore the possibility of access to the land with the businesses fronting the Reading Road to allow parking ancillary to those businesses. At the present time, overflow parking from these businesses is causing problems in Sadlers Lane, on the opposite side of Reading Road, and creating additional parking behind the businesses would relieve that.
The Sustainability Appraisal deals with this site on page 53. As well as mentioning access issues, it also says that there is a need to consider noise and air pollution issues, given the proximity of the railway, motorway and main roads. This is not mentioned in the development guidelines for the site on page 127 of the Revised Growth Strategy and it should be.2 Comments