More than a hundred ‘energy efficient’ new homes and a ‘dementia care home’ could be coming to Wokingham as plans have been revealed.

Wokingham Borough Council has submitted plans to build 130 homes and a proposed care home specialised for people with dementia in Twyford Road to the north of the town.

The homes would be built to an ‘energy efficient’ standard, as they are being designed with provisions for roof mounted solar panels, sophisticated insulation to retain heat, and air source heat pumping systems, which are touted as a more eco-friendly alternative to gas or electric heating systems.

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The council also plans to build  a new specialist dementia care home on the site to meet increased local need. The home would have 70 beds for residents, which could bring the site total to 200 dwellings. However, the construction of the care home would be conditional on the council making a final business case. The facility has been included in the outline application to help speed up the process of securing a care home once approval is given.

The site lies nearby the Toutley Road industrial estate, and the development has been called ‘Toutley East’ to reflect that. The area was meant to be reserved as a location for employment and businesses within the local plan.

However, the council’s executive member for housing has said that plan has been rethought after building a ‘garden village’ in Grazeley have hit a serious snag.

Councillor John Kaiser (Conservative), executive member for finance and housing said: “With Grazeley no longer a realistic option for housing we need to look at locations where we can deliver the new homes our borough needs with the least impact on residents.

“The Toutley East site was already identified for employment development under the current local plan, however our review showed this was no longer viable, and we proposed to change the site to residential in the local plan update in early 2020.”

The site is nearby the North Wokingham Major Development, which will see 2,100 new homes built once completed.

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If built, residents in Toutley East would likely send their children to the Matthewsgreen Primary School, which has delayed its opening to 2022 due to difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Neighbours would also be able to enjoy the nearby Ashridge Meadows country park on the other side of Twyford Road.

The site is bordered by the A329M to the north and a tributary of the Emm Brook to the south, which has given rise to flooding concerns.

Cllr Kaiser said: “Feedback from our masterplan consultation at the start of this year showed a mix of views about the site with some people supporting the idea of carbon neutral development, and others concerned about the impact of noise from the road or about historic flooding in the area.

“We’re confident the proposals we have submitted show how things like this can be addressed, and we will also demonstrate this in more detail through the reserved matters process should we be granted outline consent later this year.”

Bracknell News: The Toutley East site, a field to the west of Twyford Road, Wokingham. Credit: Ayre Chamberlain GauntThe Toutley East site, a field to the west of Twyford Road, Wokingham. Credit: Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt

The industrial estate in Toutley Road hosts a number of companies, including Balfour Beatty, Veolia and other businesses. The Monkey Mates play centre is closeby, at the junction with Old Forest Road.

You can view the Toutley East plans by typing in reference 211777 into Wokingham Borough Council’s planning portal:

An ambitious multi-council scheme for a 15,000 home ‘garden village’ in Grazeley that Cllr Kaiser referred to has been put on hold due to its proximity to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) site in Burghfield.