Rooks Nest in Barkham could become the site of a “Covid memorial wood” where people can remember lost loved ones.

If the plans get Wokingham Borough Council’s approval, the wood would be planted in place of current proposals to build 270 houses on the same site on Barkham Ride, just north of the California Country Park.

Councillor Clive Jones said he was “absolutely delighted” that the council is proposing to go ahead with the wood.

He said: “The original idea for the Covid memorial wood was to provide a very special place in the borough for individuals and their families to gather to remember their loved ones who were sadly lost as a result of the Covid pandemic.”

Council leader Stephen Conway also backed the proposal. He said: “This will provide a wonderful place of quiet contemplation for those who have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic.”

Council leaders backed the plans at a meeting of Wokingham Borough’s executive committee – its leading group of councillors – on Thursday, September 28. But this does not mean that the wood has received planning permission.

Instead, it is part of the council’s own proposals for which parcels of its land it wants to be included in its forthcoming Local Plan. This is a 15-year plan for major developments across the borough.

The council’s planning department is still drawing up its local plan, and will consider the executive’s proposals as part of this. This will then need to be approved by the full council, and then by a government-appointed planning inspector.