Development threats to rural areas around Caversham in 2009

Last year Caversham Globe sent a detailed response to Reading Borough Council’s Site Allocations – commenting on the many sites in and around Caversham within Reading borough which were put forward either for development or protection. A similar exercise is being carried out in South Oxfordshire: In the countryside immediately adjacent to Caversham, developers have put forward six sites for major building schemes – all Greenfield sites. In effect, large swathes of the rural area which surrounds Caversham to our north, east and west are under threat from major development proposals. One site is of particular concern being ancient woodland; the others are farmland, a paddock, part of Mapledurham Golf course and fields in the Lower Caversham flood plain. Details of all the proposed sites were available at our May meeting for commenting on. All of the proposals are speculative but It is essential that we make our views known at an early stage.

There are additional pressures on the rural areas to the north and east of Caversham from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) application being heavily promoted by Reading Borough Council. Apart from the controversy over a third Thames bridge and its impact on traffic in Caversham, the TIF proposals appear to include plans to build Park & Ride facilities adjacent to the A4074 Woodcote Road and the A4155 Henley Rd. This could mean large swathes of countryside being lost to massive carparks (with their attendant light pollution and urbanisation). No specific details have been revealed yet as it is all subject to negotiation with  the neighbouring authorities, but it is something we need to keep a very close watch on.