Recommendation: Conditional Approval subject to legal agreement.
Proposal: Full planning application for the change of use of 14.77ha from existing private woodland to informal recreational land and associated infrastructure including pedestrian and vehicle access, car parking and footpath network and landscaping.
Applicant: Mr and Mrs Pike
The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 39 to 88.
The Committee were advised that there were updates within the supplementary planning agenda. However, the Committee were advised verbally on the night that the comments from Wokingham Town Council, contained on agenda page 46, were incorrect and related to a previous application at the site. Page 87 contained the correct response from Wokingham Town Council.
Tony Delliston, resident, commented on the application. Tony stated that the current footpath on the northern boundary was 0.6m wide, and a lot of removal of vegetation would have to occur to facilitate the path being made 2m wide. An alternative path was suggested in Tony’s comments on the application, which would not have required the removal of trees. Tony was of the opinion that his suggestion should have been progressed and used. Tony felt that as this was not an application for a SANG, fencing may not be needed at all on site. Tony stated that barbeques should not be permitted on site, as the Fire Service were often required to attend fires as a result of barbeques. Tony commented that the applicant was a Wokingham Borough Council supplier, which could arise to a conflict of interest. As such, Tony felt that the comments made by the environmental health officer should be disregarded, and instead an independent noise assessment report should be commissioned.
Nicola Greenwood, BHS Access and Bridleways Officer, commented on the application. Nicola stated that the RG40, RG41, RG2 and RG6 postcodes covered the area in and the around Barkham and Wokingham parishes.
Nicola added that the new postcode figures provided by DEFRA dated April 2021 showed a 25% increase in horse ownership in these postcodes with a new total of 1,548 horses. These horses brought in excess of £8.5million per annum to the local economy, almost £3 million more than 9 years ago. Nicola attributed this increase in horse ownership to the large number of new houses that have been built in this area of Borough. Nicola stated that Foxhill had been enjoyed by horse riders for over 50 years. Nicola was of the opinion that in order to retain and increase rural job and business opportunities, off road horse rider access, close to where these people lived, needed to be increased and not decreased. Nicola asked that should this application be approved, access between Bearwood Road and Limmerhill Road be retained for horse rider use to ensure that riders who kept their horses in Limmerhill Road were not forced onto Barkham Road to get to the Coombes. Nicola concluded by asking that a circular bridleway be placed around the outside of the proposed site for recreational horse rider and cyclist use.
Emily Ford, agent, ... view the full minutes text for item 5