Work on a new village centre for Arborfield Green could finally get going in January, it has been announced.

But residents have “lost faith” in developers and the council after long delays in delivering a promised community centre and supermarket, councillors have warned.

Detailed plans for the centre – which includes 206 homes, shops, a pub, a pedestrian high street, a pre-school, and a community centre with cafe and nursery – were given planning permission on Wednesday, October 11.

The centre is part of the much bigger Arborfield Garrison development of up to 2,000 homes that first got outline planning permission in 2014.

But residents have been waiting for years for the new community centre and supermarket that developer Crest Nicholson said it would provide once the first 1,000 homes had been built.

Residents and local councillors have said work on these should have begun in 2019.

READ MORE: Arborfield community centre could open in 2026, Wokingham council says

Pam Stubbs, chair of Barkham Parish Council, said the parish council supported the plans. But she was sceptical that they would be delivered as promised.

She said residents had “already spent years without easy access to shops, community or medical facilities.

“All of this was to have been in place when 1,000 dwellings had been completed, and yet in this application, another 206 houses are planned. Who’d take bets on the community centre facilities being finished before the houses?

“There should not be another house built until this community facility is built.”

Councillors on Wokingham Borough’s planning committee also welcomed the plans – and voted to approve them unanimously. But committee chair David Cornish warned: “The residents have had an awful lot of promises before in previous applications and as far as they’re concerned many of them have yet to be met, at least in full.”

Meanwhile, councillor Tony Skuse was concerned that previously touted plans for a medical centre had been dropped.

Council planning officer Connor Corrigan explained that the Berkshire West NHS integrated care board had “no interest” in opening a centre in the area due to staffing issues – and that the council could do little to change that.

David Digby of Crest Nicholson told councillors that “enabling works” would begin in January if the plans were approved.

He also said the first phase of construction would deliver the pub, supermarket and the majority of new shops, and that the community centre – built in a former army building next to Bohunt School – would come in the second phase.

But he added that the refurbishment of the centre would likely start before phase one had been completed “to make sure that it is delivered on time.”