Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Kennet Valley Park planning disaster

Many of you will know the Prudential submitted a planning application to build 7,500 dwellings, known as Kennet Valley Park, on the northern side of the M4, up to the River Kennet, either side of Burghfield Road. It was met with opposition from W. Berks Council, Government Agencies and local residents as well as Reading Borough Council.

Tacked onto the edge of Reading, this development will swell the sprawl with an increase of up to 20,000 people right on our doorstep, destroy the beauty of our local area and precious wildlife and expose local residents to an increased risk of flooding. It will mark the end of idyllic rural life in Burghfield as we know it and endanger one of the most environmentally valuable areas in Berkshire, which contains 3 Wildlife Heritage Sites and RSPB endangered species.

The Development will take between 20-24 years to complete. Tipping will take place for 18 years! It is predicted there will be a truck movement every 5 minutes. 8 ½ MILLION cubic metres of material has to be moved in and out of a 9 ½ hectare site. Such activity will create dust and dirt. Local residents will be exposed to excessive noise and air pollution and vibrations. Prevailing S.W. winds will also mean dust over Reading. The roads around the area, from the heavy use by big trucks, will be muddy and a hazard to road users. You will be living on an enormous building site as our rural beauty is destroyed.

Hospitals and other health and public services will be further overstretched. The Prudential have failed to make adequate provisions. In respect of health care, the Prudential have said ‘it’s a problem for the regional health authority’. They have completely failed to address the issue of increased demand on the emergency services. The 25 year plan drawn up by Thames Water in 2004 did not take into account the proposed development. Already under pressure, our water supply is not infinite. Last summer we all suffered a lengthy hose pipe ban. We can expect another one this year. Serious doubts have been raised about the reliability of the Prudential’s traffic data. There are concerns that downgrading the Burghfield Road to a residential road will cause additional traffic chaos.

The Prudential having extracted objections, withdrew their application. Surreptitiously they presented flawed evidence to the Panel for the S.E. Plan making no reference to functional floodplains or the opposition. As a result of this undemocratic process, the Panel has recommended the inclusion of KVP in the S.E. Plan. Unless we act, we may find it thrust upon contrary to the opposition of our local council, the Environment and Highways Agencies and local residents.

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