This month, plans were revealed to create a 4,500 home new community in the Loddon Valley south of Reading.

They form part of the Wokingham Local Plan update.

But what does the plan actually involve?

While other prospective developments have dedicated websites, such as the major development south of the M4 and plans to build a garden village in Jealott’s Hill, the plan for the Loddon Valley are in such embryonic stages that one has not been set up yet.

Details of the plan are rather scarce.

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Much of what we know about the proposal to create the 4,500 home garden village are in the Wokingham Local Plan update document, which can be accessed here.

Of that housing figure,  it is predicted that a minimum of 2,200 of them would be built by 2037/38.

The new village will be huge, and if the Local Plan update is enacted, the Loddon Valley will become one of Wokingham’s Strategic Development Locations (SDLs).

Wokingham Borough currently has four SDLs major developments, at North Wokingham, South Wokingham, Shinfield Parish (south of the M4) and Arborfield Garrison.

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The Local Plan update states that the garden village is “considered the most deliverable and sustainable strategic option” and that the large scale developments “are often the best solution to meeting development needs in a way that responds to the challenges of climate change.”

The prospective development would be located close to the Thames Valley Science Park, which is run by the University of Reading and is used as a location for both science businesses and a media hub for the film and TV industry.

The university, which owns farmland which forms part of the Loddon Valley development area, has already welcomed the possibilities the new ‘garden village’ provides.

However, the new community has proven unpopular with Arborfield and Newlands Parish Council, which lies to the south of the proposed development.

During the meeting where the sites for the Local Plan update were allocated, Councillor Paul Stevens argued that the garden village contravened the Arborfield and Barkham  Neighbourhood Plan, by its policies of preserving the separation of settlements, respect the rural identity of settlements, and protect and enhance the natural environment and green spaces.

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Previously, there were hopes of building a 15,000 home ‘garden town’ in Grazeley, which would have had its own train station on the Reading to Basingstoke line.

But this project was scrapped, meaning the prospective new settlement in Wokingham Borough -now in the Loddon Valley- has been downsized and moved five miles east.

What would the new garden village contain?

The Local Plan document states people living in the new community would be served by primary schools a secondary school, neighbourhood centres and shops.

The development could even be the home of a newly built hospital.

That’s because the Local Plan update document states the Royal Berkshire Hospital could be either partially or fully relocated into the development site.

There is currently no information about how this ‘garden village’ will be accessed.

The plan does state that the council wants sustainability to be ‘designed in from the outset’ with an intention to maximise cycling, walking and active travel and reducing unnecessary car journeys.

It is assumed the highways team at Wokingham Borough Council will draw up plans for new major roads to serve the village in the future.

It has previously done this for the other major developments through its ‘major new roads’ projects.

These include the North Wokingham Distributor Road, the Winnersh and Arborfield Relief roads, the Nine Mile Ride Extension and the South Wokingham Distributor Road, which was approved earlier this year and involves the demolition of two homes.

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Finally, the plan document states that there would be the opportunity to create a new public green space or park along the River Loddon, which is currently private.

The Local Plan update, including the prospect of the Loddon Valley Garden Village is currently undergoing a consultation.

You can give your views by heading to Wokingham Borough Council’s ‘Engage’ website.

The Local Plan will eventually be submitted to the Government’s planning inspectorate for approval.