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History - Woodley and Earley, 1971-5
Berkshire County Council Minutes:
Wokingham Times Articles, 1968-9, by subject:
Wokingham Times Articles, 1971-5, by subject:
Major expansion in Woodley and Earley was to follow the opening of the A329(M). These articles are transcripts from the 'Wokingham Times' from the early 1970s.
4th November 1971:
‘£35m Wokingham RDC plan to house 22,000 newcomers’:
By David Price.
A master plan for Woodley and Earley published yesterday recommends that another 22,000 people should be accommodated in the area in the next 10 years. The plan at this stage is an interim report which has been prepared by Shankland Cox and Associates for Berkshire County Council and Wokingham Rural District Council.
It contains a series of conclusions and recommendations which will be open for public comment over the next two months. Both local authorities are mounting public relations campaigns in an effort to get maximum public participation. Shankland Cox planners said at a Press conference earlier this week that their proposals were not detailed at this stage.
They provide for two alternatives: a maximum level of development which would create homes for 22,000 people and a minimum level providing homes for 12,500. For Shankland Cox, Mr. Desmond Searle, said: "We do not believe there is an acceptable figure in between. It should be one or the other".
One tentative proposal allows for the building of a "suburban service centre complex" at Winnersh, although this is probably one of the least detailed ideas contained in the report. The planners simply say that should a suburban centre east of Reading be considered necessary then they would recommend the Winnersh site – between the railway and the line of the A329 relief road, because it would present no accessibility problems and the provision of jobs in that area would tend to relieve the pressure of work journey traffic to Reading.
Total cost of the proposals for the maximum development would be something of the order of £35 million at 1971 prices. At this stage all the financial estimates are very approximate but new roads and improvements to existing roads for the development should cost something over £6 million. Other necessary services would cost about £3 million, and the houses themselves would account for the remainder.
All through their report the planners stress the need for facilities which not only match up to the level of housing development, but take into account the present deficiencies in the area.
And they recommend the maximum level of development in preference to the minimum for three main reasons:
But whatever level of development is finally accepted, the planners strongly recommend that housing in the expansion areas should include a greater variety of type and a wider price range than at present in Woodley / Earley. They also feel there should be provision of homes for rent.
The other recommendations which are contained in the interim report – and are still very much open to public as well as official discussion – cover not only houses but jobs, roads, and other planning aspects.
In brief they are:
On Jobs: The planners do not think that any major expansion of existing industrial (Woodley Airfield) or service employment centres (shopping areas) is necessary to provide the 10,000 extra jobs that will be needed. Already, they say, industrialists in Woodley have trouble recruiting locally, and local service employment is in any case expected to rise by over 3,000 in the ten years. There will also be more jobs available both at an expanded university and at the Winnersh suburban centre should it be developed.
On schools: Shankland Cox recommend that proposals to provide schools should, as far as possible, take account of any deficiencies in the existing areas. How many primary schools are needed will depend on which level of development is accepted. A new secondary school will only be necessary if the maximum level is adopted.
On play: The plans provide for an overall standard of 9 acres of public open space per 1,000 people of which 5 acres will be for "active recreation". The planners recommend that an additional 100 acres should be added to that level to make up for existing deficiences.
On roads: Traffic movements, say the planners, should be concentrated on inner and outer circular routes through the area. They recommend some new roads and to link up existing roads into circular routes, major improvement of some existing roads and "traffic management" schemes, particularly relating to shopping centres to protect the environment.
Possibly one of the most progressive recommendations, however, is in the proposed way of implementing the master plan. Shankland Cox suggest a complete review of the present procedure with landowners and local authorities joining together to form a development consortium whose aim would be to ensure that what the planners call "infrastructure" – the provision of essential services, roads, sewers and so on, proceeds in step with an agreed house-building rate.
Comments on the plan are invited from all interested parties. Public meetings already planned are to be held at Coronation Hall, Woodley, on November 17, and Maiden Erleigh School, on November 25. Copies of the plan are available for sale at all local government offices (price £1 each) and at several shops in Woodley and Earley and ever householder is going to receive a copy of a brochure produced by the planners which summarises the main report. Deadline for observations on the report is January 18, 1972.
1st February 1973:
Earley M4 Service Station decision sparks off worries’: [At Upper Wood Farm, Earley; by Cutbush Lane as it crosses the M4. This was considered as an alternative to Warren Copse, Shurlock Row, which was rejected after protests.]
Thanks are due to Surrey and Berkshire Media, owners of the 'Wokingham Times', for permission to reproduce these articles. Note that microfilm copies of these newspapers can be viewed at Bracknell Library, while those up to the end of 1971 can also be seen at Wokingham Library.
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