Wokingham Borough Council has today (January 16) announced it will robustly defend its position after Hampshire County Council served notice of its intention to seek a judicial review of the borough council’s decision to adopt supplementary planning documents relating to the development of Arborfield Garrison.
Wokingham Borough Council considers its core strategy, adopted after a public inquiry held before a government inspector, to safeguard and protect the interests not only of its own residents but also of those in North Hampshire and other surrounding areas. The core strategy outlines that 3,500 new homes will be built at Arborfield and it was agreed after an examination in public by a government inspector in 2010. The current legal action will not change this.
The core strategy recognises that improvements may be required on the A327 including potentially the part of the road that runs through North Hampshire. Specific details of any improvements will be resolved through planning application submissions, on which Hampshire County Council will be fully consulted. It is only at this stage that the traffic implications will be sufficiently understood and refined to assess the specific road works likely to be required. Any necessary works will be secured through a legally binding agreement with the developers. The recently adopted supplementary planning documents do not remove the need for this to happen.
Notwithstanding the legal action, Wokingham Borough Council remains committed to working with Hampshire County Council and others to ensure an agreement can be reached.
Executive member for strategic highways and planning Cllr Angus Ross said: "It is unfortunate that Hampshire County Council has taken this action as experience tells us that this can slow down resolution of differences rather than solving them, meanwhile building up additional costs on the councils at a time of budgetary restraint. I will be working hard to ensure all those affected by the planned developments around our borough benefit from appropriate infrastructure improvements."