Developments in Wokingham – The future of the town mapped out
WOKINGHAM and its surroundings are undergoing massive redevelopment.
Entire neighborhoods are being built, involving homes, schools, community centers and major new roads, which will likely change the face of the Wokingham area forever.
Construction is concentrated in four main locations, called Strategic Development Locations in the Borough of Wokingham.
These are North Wokingham, South Wokingham, Arborfield Garrison and Shinfield Parish.
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A total of 11,100 housing units are planned for these areas, with work starting at several locations in these four locations.
The developments furthest from completion are South Wokingham and Arborfield Garrison.
South Wokingham has seen the least progress to date. Although the first phase of the development plan – the construction of Montague Park – has largely been completed, large parts of the project have only just received planning permission.
The overall plans for 1,649 houses were approved on Tuesday, May 18.
It will see for the first time a major development south of the Reading-Waterloo Railway.
The most controversial aspect of the project is the South Wokingham Distributor Road, which runs from Waterloo Road in the east to Finchampstead Road in the west, serving as a thoroughfare for the new subdivision.
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Three houses and a former council office building will be demolished in the western section of the road, where it joins Finchampstead Road, near the Tesco supermarket.
North of the railway line, 636 homes were planned, with 580 occupied in March 2020. According to the development progress map, 115 homes are under construction on land off Beechey Place.
When completed, 2,500 homes will have been built for the South Wokingham major development.
Following the approval of the development and the road south of the rail lines, the area with the least construction to date is Arborfield Garrison.
The ambitious plans include 3,500 homes, new schools, community centers and the expansion of the Hogwood industrial area.
In terms of progress, Bohunt Secondary School was opened in 2016 and 558 houses have already been built in several locations of the development. These include 223 homes at Nine Mile Ride and 133 new homes off Biggs Lane.
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The construction of the Arborfield film studios in the former Hazebrouck barracks was approved in February 2017. According to planning documents, the film studio will be in place for nine years, which means that the use of the site as a studio theatrical films are scheduled to expire in 2026. The Guardian reported that the studios were being used to film Season 2 of the Netflix series The Witcher.
The project also involves the construction of an extension of Nine Mile Ride, running from its junction with Park Lane to the A327 Eversley Road. The western section of the extension road has been constructed from Eversley Road to Bohunt School.
There is also the Arborfield Cross Relief Road, which, when opened, bypasses the village of Arborfield. Google Map images show that the route, listed as Observer Way, is almost complete.
The North Wokingham development is largely completed or under construction.
Of the 2,100 new homes reserved for the program, 1,145 of them were occupied as of December 2020, meaning the remaining 955 need to be built or approved.
Most of the major development in North Wokingham has consent to planning. The only part of the project that remains to be approved is a plan for the Matthewsgreen Farmhouses located between Matthewsgreen Road and Twyford Road. A total of 760 new homes will be built upon completion of the development. So far, 321 of them have been built.
Google Maps shows the construction progress at Matthewsgreen Farm, where you can see the houses and the new roads of Trinder Road and Herd Drive.
A plan to build 153 new homes at Ashridge Farm was approved last December.
READ MORE: Plan of 153 houses on Wokingham farmland approved by council
These new developments will be served by a new road, North Wokingham Distributor Road, which will link London Road to Reading Road, providing access to new construction and creating a northern bypass so that drivers can avoid the city center.
Sections of the road are full, such as the Diamond Jubilee Way, which runs from Binfield Road to Warren House Road. Meanwhile, work is underway to connect the new road with Reading Road to the northwest.
Most of the major development in Shinfield Parish is under construction.
Part of the development is the Mereoak Park & Ride, which opened in August 2015, operating as a shuttle bus between Three Mile Cross and Reading city center. It is also served by National Express.
The development is also home to the Thames Valley Science Park, accessible from the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road. Gateway Building 1 was opened in March 2018 and a parking lot has been built so far, with the start of construction of Gateway Building 2 and a cancer research center.
READ MORE: University of Reading submits plans for new television studio at Thames Valley Science Park
The science park, a joint venture between the University of Reading and Barton Wilmore, has been granted permission to plan for expansion.
Another key component of the program is the sports facilities on offer, including the modernization of the Ryeish Green Sports Hub to provide six grass fields and a pavilion, and another sports center at High Copse Common. Recently an application was submitted to build a sports center in Hyde End Lane, Spencers Wood, for two sports fields.
The road serving the development, the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road, was opened in the winter of 2017. It allows drivers to bypass Shinfield on their way to Reading.
Once the work is completed, 3,000 houses will have been built in the major development of Shinfield Parish.