Object to the Berkeley Blagrove Development

Berkely Homes has submitted a planning application to the Wokingham Council Planning Office.   It covers a large area on both sides of Blagrove Lane, between Evendons Lane and Barkham Road, for 350 houses and a new junction on Barkham Road. 

How to Object to the Planning Application

The planning application for the 350 house and new junction onto Barkham Road has been published on the Wokingham Council planning portal with the reference number 222306 – “Land Adjacent to Blagrove Lane.”

There are more than 100 documents to view, but don’t worry: there is help on how you can make your objection effective on our website.  We ask that as many individuals submit an objection as possible, as this will add weight to the opposition.  

Below, you will find a range of subject areas you can use in your objection that you can submit to the planning website.  Your input will make a difference to this planning application.  Adding your valid reasons for your objection will impact the final decision.

How do I object?

  1. Click the link to the Wokingham Council planning portal.
  2. Search for reference number 222306
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  1. Have a read of the summary and our breakdown of the key points (below)
  2. Select the “Comments” button towards the bottom of the page. Then fill out your details.
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  1. Once logged in, check that all details (name, address etc.) are correct and select the type of commenter relevant to you.
  2. Select “Object” 
  3. Write your comment in the large box (max 5000 characters). You can add more to the box than is visible. It may be easier to write your objection separately and cut and paste it into the target box.
  1. Press “Submit”.

What should I write?

Guidance on general topics of what you can use as arguments and what you cannot is available from the Wokingham Council website.

  • Give clear and sound reasons for your objection supported by sensible arguments.
  • Please object – this development isn’t right for this area and will cause many problems.
  • Do not copy these points verbatim; otherwise, it decreases the weight of your objection. Pick a few points from below that matter to you! and write your reasons for objecting in your words.

Arguments Against the Planning Application 222306

Rural Character and Greenspaces – more details here

Loss of greenspace/rural limits

  • Does not meet WDC Planning Policy – This new development will be built on a greenspace outside the development limits set by Wokingham Council.
  • We will lose the feeling of being on the edge of the countryside, and it will close the gap between Wokingham and Barkham.
  • Evendons Lane and Viking Field are on the edges of Wokingham and have a rural feel. This massive development will seriously erode this rural identity.
  • This area still has a strong rural character with its hedgerows, mature trees and old farm buildings. These new houses will destroy this. 
  • When you are on Viking Field, you feel a strong connection with the countryside from the views into the fields. All this would be lost.
  • You have a strong feeling of leaving the town and entering the countryside when you travel down Blagrove Lane. 
  • It’s lovely to see fields, hedgerows and mature trees on the edge of town. It feels rural -something that is hard to find now in Wokingham.

The urbanisation of the site resulting from the development itself

  • The development would simply urbanise a rural site, destroying the rural character

Rural/natural character of Blagrove Lane

  • Blagrove Lane is an old lane; this shows once you move along the lane from Roberts Farm to Hutts farm/Doles Lane. You can see how deep the banks are. There are not many of these left in Wokingham, and it would spoil the rural and historic feel of the area.
  • The development would erode the area’s rural character to the detriment of Grade 2 Listed Buildings setting at Hutts Farm & Blagrove Farm.

Traffic Increases on Blagrove and Oaklands

  • Most traffic from Blagrove will leave the “vets” junction or down Oaklands Drive. TheDoles Lane will be a new cut-through to Evendons Lane to avoid Edneys Lane. re will be a new road through the new estate and then fields and woods however we believe the traffic will increase with 350 new homes and a SANG to draw visitors.
  • Doles Lane will be a new cut-through to Evendons Lane to avoid Edneys Lane. 

Highways (Roads)

  • 744 new cars stated in the application
  • The proposed new access road to the development from Barkham Road is not safe due to positioning, visibility and speed. To get improved (still not good) visibility at this point, trees, hedges and vegetation would need to be removed and maintained in perpetuity on land that is not part of the site and outside the control of the highway authority. Obstructed visibility will lead vehicles exiting the site into the path of approaching vehicles on Barkham Road with the risk of accidents and personal injury.
  • Cars travel on Barkham Road at an excessive speed despite traffic calming measures. This junction would not be safe to exit for cars, cyclists or pedestrians with cars travelling at the speeds recorded. A risk of pedestrian and vehicle collisions at the proposed Tiger crossing result from cars travelling on Barkham Road at speed.  Evidence is available from Barkham Parish Council, which completed a survey.
  • Barkham Road, particularly at junctions, is heavily trafficked and cannot sustain additional traffic from 350 homes.  Oaklands Drive would also see increased traffic.
  • Blagrove Lane is considered lightly trafficked; 350 plus cars will erode this.
  • Parking proposed on the development is stated that exceeds the Wokingham BC guidelines. How is this promoting sustainable modes of transport? 
  • SANG has no public parking. 83% of visitors arrive by car. This will lead to parking on Blagrove Lane.

Wildlife and Habitat – Key Policy details and documents here

Ancient Woodland At Bottle Copse

  • Bottle Copse Wood is a site which includes Ancient Woodland. It is rich in wildlife and home to rare species such as badgers, bats and owls. It should not be disturbed or degraded.
  • It is a very important/valuable habitat. It is irreplaceable, and planting an area as a SANG will not compensate the community for its loss and the loss of its species.  
  •  The plans are to have housing built very close to the wood, paths running through it and a road running alongside it. This will cause irreversible harm to this precious habitat.
  • Berkeley Homes claim there will be a net biodiversity gain. Still, this proposed development will destroy important habitats and effectively cause significant harm to biodiversity if they allow people and dogs to access previously undisturbed natural areas.
  • According to the council, bottle Copse Wood is a Local Wildlife Site, and as such, it should be protected from development.
  • If they build a new road into the development at Bottle Copse, they will have to cut down a large area of the wood to improve the sight lines for the junction and clear a lot of the wood to construct the road itself.
  • Council Policy CP7 states that inappropriate development will be resisted.’ This development is inappropriate for this semi-rural part of Wokingham. The development will negatively affect the rural character of the area.


  • This special area on this side of Wokingham has many beautiful, large old oaks. The earliest local OS maps for the area (circa the 1870s) show the woodland (Bottle Copse) planned for the access road was woodland then.  That has significance as the undisturbed ground has higher biodiversity and the possibility that many trees may be over 150 years old.
  • Many of these are Veteran Trees and are valuable to the area. There are many other trees with TPOs on them which will be lost to development. 
  • The Woodland Trust has recorded up to 2,300 different flora and fauna living on one oak tree, so biodiversity loss with each old oak tree is huge.
  • On the plans, some of the houses will be built very close to some of these old oak trees. This will inevitably weaken their roots, with knock-on effects on the trees.   Once they become unstable with weakened and dead branches, the residents will want them pruned or taken down.
  • The proposed site contains mature trees and hedgerows, many recorded by The Woodland Trust as Ancient Trees. View the map here.
  • The old, veteran oaks have massive roots, as big underground as their canopies are wide. They are bound to be fatally damaged by having massive development and digging around them.

General environment

  • The council policy CP1 states that they must maintain or enhance the high quality of the environment. This development appears to do neither. It degrades the environment.
  • The council’s policy CP2 says that any development must have no detrimental impact on important ecological landscapes. This development seems certain to damage the trees and hedgerows that give this part of Wokingham its rural feel.
  • The proposed site is a valuable wildlife-rich habitat, supporting multiple protected and endangered species.


  • Many of the hedgerows in the fields will have to be removed. These are habitats for our wildlife and corridors along which the animals move through the area.
  • Viking Field and Lesley Sears field will be effectively cut off from the surrounding countryside by a large swathe of houses. This will prevent any wildlife from getting into the field. 
  • Viking Field will become like a ‘town park’ and lose its much-loved semi-rural feel. There will be rows of houses where we used to see fields with deer.
  • It’s not acceptable for residents to have such a valuable wildlife area like Viking Field reduced to a sterile grass area. This is what building right up to its boundary will do.
  • Council Policy CC03 says that any fragmentation or isolation of green areas is not acceptable. This development would do exactly that to Viking Field and Lesley Sears Field.
  • Council Policy CC03 says that any fragmentation or isolation of green areas is not acceptable. This development would do exactly that to Viking Field and Lesley Sears Field.


  • There are at least six badger setts in total spread through the site, which have been in place since 2012 (recorded by TVERC). A lot of people locally enjoy the badgers visiting their gardens. There is no way that this development will not disrupt the badgers. Putting a road next to the Ancient Woodland in Bottle Copse where the badgers live is bound to result in significant harm to that large group of badgers. 
  • As there is a path planned through the middle of the woodland, this is bound to bring dogs into contact with the badgers who live there. This will bring the local population of badgers into conflict with the public, where before, the badgers could live peacefully.
  • Council Policy CP3 states that any development must maintain or enhance the ability of the site to support fauna and flora, including protected species (such as badgers). This plan does not meet the council’s responsibility to look after this protected species. It puts them directly in harm’s way!
  • The developer’s Ecological Survey states that there ‘is likely to be a net habitat loss as well as loss of continuity in the badger community across the area.’
  • Badgers are protected by law and are an important part of the wildlife in this area. Building a new road through the Bottle Copse woods will destroy their setts, and we will lose these key animals from our countryside.


  • The Ecological Assessment survey for the developer states that there is ‘potential for the works to contravene nature conservation legislation by killing or injuring reptiles’. This is because there has been no consideration for how to deal with the slow worms. 
  • There are three notable species of insect recorded on the site and one of Principal Interest. 
  • The survey commissioned for the developer states that there is a ‘complete absence of avoidance measure and mitigation for invertebrates, and this will affect the local populations of protected and notable species. This area of our wildlife has been completely overlooked.


  • The developers found bats in the area and believed they were common pipistrelles. But recorders from the local bat group have found four extra species. These are in decline, and two, the Serontine and Nathusius’s bat, are rare.
  • There are six species of bats recorded across the site. Some are very rare, and others are in decline nationally. The developers have not carried out their survey thoroughly. They didn’t survey along Doles Lane, which has woodland and farm buildings – typical bat habitats.
  • There are 12 confirmed bat roosting sites and three more confirmed as having high potential for roosting sites.  Two of the confirmed roosts trees will be in the direct route of the new access road and will likely have to be destroyed, taking the roosts with them.  
  • Bats need hedgerows, trees and field edges to roost and hunt. From the plans, it looks like many hedgerows will be destroyed. Roosting sites in the Bottle Copse will be disturbed and probably cause the bats to leave the area.
  • The developer’s promise to plant more trees will not mitigate the loss of these important veteran trees, several of which will have to be removed to build the access road and sightlines at the junction. At least two of these trees tabled to be destroyed are important bat roosts.  
  • Many of the bats’ foraging hedgerows will be lost in the development through the site next to Viking Field and the fields near Folly Court. Newly planted ones will take approximately five years to establish new foraging sites/corridors. By this time, the bats will have died out in the area.


  • The site is rich in bird species, including Tawny and Barn owls, Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels. RSPB Red List species are found across the whole site. Ten notable species from the RSPB conservation list are recorded here.
  • A large flock of Starlings (more than 85 individuals), a Red List species, are recorded on the fields suggested for development.  Amber List species recorded here include Greenfinch and Redwing. These species will be almost entirely lost from the site. The area is abundant with several Woodpecker species, Wrens, Tits, and Jays.
  • More starlings and redwings on the RSPB’s endangered birds list use the fields along Blagrove Lane to feed. These species will no longer visit these areas. This goes against the council’s policy (CP3) to maintain and enhance the ability of the site to support fauna and flora. It does neither of these things concerning protected species.

Key Policy details and documents here

Impact of a new Suitable Area of  New Greenspace (SANG)more details here

  • The Ancient Woodland and the adjoining woods will be harmed by walkers and dogs having access to this wildlife area that has been untouched for centuries.
  • It is essential that Natural England visits and agrees to a SANG before any housing development can be attributed to it. This is in line with Policy NRM6 of the South East Plan. This is not in place.
  • A new greenspace/SANG there will bring even more traffic to the area as most people drive to a SANG.
  • Having a new greenspace here will mean that many dogs can run freely over the site and disturb the badgers and other wildlife. We will lose these protected animals from our surroundings.
  • The area already has well-established public natural walks at Redlands Park, Viking Field, Limerhill and Fox Hill, and the Sand Martins Golf Course routes.

We have lots more detail and references to the relevant planning documented here (link coming soon)

Impact on Schools and GP Services

  • Wokingham has embraced the Homes for Ukraine scheme in WBC, with over 500 refugees here and more coming into the borough; this is having a large impact on schools and doctors as every child has to go to school, and every refugee has to register with a GP. Wokingham and Barkham are struggling regarding the facilities and infrastructure without further residents coming into the area at Blagrove.
  • Wokingham Life reported (2nd March 2022)  that despite another 176 places being found, there was still a shortfall for children entering secondary school this year. As a result, children had to be placed outside the borough. 
  • It is a probability that children living in the development will be placed further from their homes and possibly outside the borough.
  • The proposed development has a material impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of residents in dwellings adjacent to the boundary of the proposed development due to catastrophic impact on the calm rural character of the area, which violates Core Strategy policy CP3a and Core Strategy policy CP3f.
  • The proposed development introduces new roads, dwellings and parking spaces immediately adjacent to existing properties on Evendons Lane, Blagrove Lane and Roberts Grove, resulting in noise, vibration and light disturbance from traffic.
  • Loss of privacy from proposed dwellings that would materially impact the amenities enjoyed by the occupants of dwellings adjacent to the boundary of the proposed development.
  • Therefore, the proposed development is not compliant with the Core Strategy policy CP3a

Five Year Land Suppy

  • There is an excellent article on the website https://cllr-kerr.co.uk/ which explains what the Five Year Land Supply means and what impact it may have. Please take five minutes to read.
  • Berkeley are using the fact that Wokingham has overdelivered on it’s government set housing commitments to argue the site should go ahead. We would argue what ever the numbers, this location should not be developed for all the reasons detailed on this page.

Previous Planning, Core Strategies and Reference Links

Click here for Previous Planning Decisions in the Area.

Click here to see a summary of the Core Strategies (https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning-policy/planning-policy-information/local-plan-and-planning-policies/)

Click here for Reference Links and past planning

General Points

  •  New housing commitments in Wokingham have been above average, and many developments have been completed in recent years, making this proposal unnecessary.
  • The site is not allocated for the delivery of housing and associated infrastructure in the Spatial Vision and policies of the Core Strategy. 
  • Any short-term benefit from additional houses in the borough would not outweigh the risk of harm to the overall strategy for sustainable housing growth in the borough.
  • The development is contrary to the Core Strategy for development within the borough until 2026 and the MDDD Plan Document.
  • The application has new footpath/cycleways onto Viking Field – this contradicts the Trust conditions for Viking Field, which states that:
    • The land is for the exercising of dogs.
    • Not to permit the playing of games or marking out of pitches
    • Preserve the oaks bordering the proposed development
    • A substantial boundary shall be in place at the west of Viking Field
  • The area has natural springs, and the development would be prone to flooding.
  • It invades the natural light of neighbours (if your home will be impacted)
  • It will affect the privacy of neighbours
  • The development encourages on-street parking on surrounding roads
  • Surrounding roads are not suitable for increased traffic:
    • With narrow lanes (Edneys Hill,  Evendons Lane, Doles Lane and Blagrove Lane). Barkham Road is already congested. 
  • Area prone to flooding – flooding risk to neighbouring properties and the public spaces will be unacceptable.
  • Factual errors on the application (more details to follow)
  • Deviation from Council policy (more details to follow)

If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will help you where we can.

  1. Give clear and sound reasons for your objection supported by sensible arguments.
  2. Speak to us if you are unsure of what to write
  3. Please object – this development isn’t right for this area and will cause many problems.

If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will help you where we can.