WOKINGHAM and the surrounding area is undergoing massive redevelopment.

Entire neighbourhoods are being built, which involve houses, schools community centres and major new roads, all of which will likely change the face of the Wokingham area forever.

Building is being focused in four major locations, called Strategic Development Locations in Wokingham Borough.

They are North Wokingham, South Wokingham, Arborfield Garrison and Shinfield Parish.

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In total, 11,100 homes are set for these areas, with work beginning in a number of places within these four locations.

The developments which are furthest from completion are those at South Wokingham and Arborfield Garrison.

South Wokingham

Bracknell News: South Wokingham Major Development Phase 2b within the wider plan. It would see homes that will be connected to Wokingham proper being built south of the railway for the first time. Credit: Wokingham Borough Council

South Wokingham has seen the least progress so far. Although the first phase of the development plan – the construction of Montague Park – has mostly been completed, large parts of the scheme have only just been given planning consent.

Outline plans for 1,649 homes were approved on Tuesday, May 18.

It will see a major development south of the Reading to Waterloo railway for the first time.

The most controversial aspect of the scheme is the South Wokingham Distributor Road, which will run from Waterloo Road in the east to Finchampstead Road in the west, acting as an arterial road for the new housing development.

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Three homes and a former council office building will be demolished in the western section of the road, where it links to Finchampstead Road near the Tesco Superstore.

North of the railway, 636 homes were planned, with 580 of them being occupied in March 2020. According to the development progress map, 115 homes are under construction on land off Beechey Place.

Once completed, 2,500 homes will have been built for the South Wokingham Major Development.

Arborfield Garrison 

Bracknell News: The Arborfield Garrison Major Development Progress Map. Credit: Wokingham Borough Council

Following the approval of the development and road south of the railway tracks, the area with the least construction so far is Arborfield Garrison.

The ambitious plans include 3,500 homes, new schools, community centres and the expansion of Hogwood Industrial Estate.

In terms of progress, Bohunt Secondary School was opened in 2016, and 558 homes have already been built at a number of locations across the development. These include 223 homes in Nine Mile Ride and 133 new homes off Biggs Lane.

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The construction of Arborfield Film Studios at the former Hazebrouck Barracks was approved in February 2017. According to planning documents, the film studio will be in place for nine years, meaning usage of the site as a film studio is expected to expire in 2026. The Guardian has reported that the studios are being used to shoot season 2 of Netflix series The Witcher.

The scheme also involves building an extension of Nine Mile Ride, running from its junction with Park Lane through to the A327 Eversley Road. The western section of the extension road has been built, running from Eversley Road to Bohunt School.

There is also the Arborfield Cross Relief Road, which, once opened, bypasses the village of Arborfield. Google Map images show that the road, listed as Observer Way, is almost complete.

North Wokingham

Bracknell News: North Wokingham Major Development. Credit: Wokingham Borough Council

The North Wokingham development is either mostly complete or under construction.

Of the 2,100 new homes earmarked for the scheme, 1,145 of them were occupied by December 2020 – meaning the remaining 955 need to be built or approved.

Most of the North Wokingham Major Development has planning consent. The only part of the scheme left to approve is a plan for homes at Matthewsgreen Farm in land between Matthewsgreen Road and Twyford Road. A total of 760 new homes will be built once the development is completed. So far, 321 of these have been built.

Google Maps shows building progress at Matthewsgreen Farm, where you can see homes and the new roads of Trinder Road and Herd Drive.

A plan to build 153 new homes at Ashridge Farm was approved last December.

READ MORE: Plan for 153 homes on Wokingham farmland approved by council

These new developments will be served by a new road, the North Wokingham Distributor Road, which will run from London Road all the way to Reading Road, providing access to the new builds and creating a northern bypass so drivers can avoid the town centre.

Stretches of the road are complete such as Diamond Jubilee Way, which runs from Binfield Road to Warren House Road. Meanwhile, work is taking place to build the new road’s connection with Reading Road to the north west.

Shinfield Parish 

Bracknell News: Shinfield Parish Major Development. Credit: Wokingham Borough Council

Most of the Shinfield Parish major development is under construction.

Part of the development is the Mereoak Park & Ride, which opened in August 2015, operating as a shuttle between Three Mile Cross and Reading town centre. It is also served by National Express.

The development is also the home of Thames Valley Science Park, accessed from the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road. The Gateway Building 1 was opened in March 2018 and a car park has been built so far, with construction beginning on Gateway Building 2 and a Cancer Research Centre.

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The Science Park, a joint venture between the University of Reading and Barton Wilmore, has planning consent for its expansion.

Another key part of the scheme is the sport facilities proposed, including upgrading Ryeish Green Sports Hub to provide six grass pitches and a pavilion, and another sports hub in High Copse Common. Recently, an application has been submitted to build a Sports Hub in Hyde End Lane, Spencers Wood, for two sports pitches.

The road that serves the development, the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road, was opened in Winter 2017. It allows drivers to bypass Shinfield to get to Reading.

Once work is finished, 3,000 homes will have been built at the Shinfield Parish Major Development.