The fate of a plan to build over 100 homes and a country park as part of a major development south of Wokingham has been decided.

This week, a plan to build 171 homes and a country park south east of Finchampstead Road was discussed by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee.

The plan forms part of the massive South Wokingham Major Development, which involves building 1,600 homes and a road south of the railway track.

Outline plans for the development were approved in May, but is so massive that separate applications for details have to be submitted, and different developers have applications for the various sections of it.

Here, developers Charles Church Developments applied to build 171 homes and a suitable area of natural green space (SANG) located east of the Tesco Superstore.

The plans show homes built in three sections along the approved South Wokingham Distributor Road and a new ‘Emm Parkland SANG’ within the Emm Brook river basin.

However, councillor Gary Cowan (Independent, Arborfield) opposed the plan over concerns about tree loss, flooding and traffic along Finchampstead Road.

Cllr Cowan said: “Trees were a big worry for me. They [the developers] have failed to indicate to us how many trees will be cut down, where they are, and what will take their place.

“There’s absolutely nothing.”

He proposed putting an area tree protection order (TPO) on the area, which would have meant the developers would have to apply to cut trees down in the future.

He also asked for the decision to be deferred so more information could be collected.

Although these suggestions were seconded by cllr Stephen Conway (Liberal Democrats, Twyford), the attempted deferral failed.

Additionally, the Environmental Agency had an outstanding objection due to green space loss and flooding from the Emm Brook.

However, planning officer Emy Circuit determined that the objection would be withdrawn as the developers have submitted updated flood risk and biodiversity net gain assessments to address the issues raised by the agency.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside) expressed concern that new allotments and people attempting to access the SANG would negatively affect Henry Lucas Hospital, a Grade I listed building which now serves as a home.

Officers said suitable fencing and landscaping would divide Henry Lucas Hospital from allotments and homes contained in the plan.

The application was approved by eight votes to one, with cllr Cowan voting against it and cllr Conway abstaining.

You can view it by typing reference 192325 into Wokingham Borough Council’s planning portal here:

The plan was approved on a hybrid basis, with the Emm Parkland SANG being approved in full, and the housing element being approved in outline.

This means that another application will be submitted detailing how many bedrooms each home will have.