Wokingham Borough Council is looking at alternatives to a garden town in Grazeley as the Ministry of Defence object to the plans. Earlier this year the council consulted on a draft local plan strategy which proposed a garden town at Grazeley that included upfront infrastructure, a commitment to be carbon neutral and strong public transport links.
Since then a legislative change has caused emergency planning requirements around the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield to be extended so that for the first time they include the Grazeley area. The Defence Nuclear Organisation, part of the Ministry of Defence, is now objecting to the Grazeley garden town proposal and is requesting its removal from the local plan.
In light of the changed circumstances, the council has started the process of looking at alternatives as the Grazeley garden town may no longer be achievable. The council will consult on the alternatives next year.
Executive member for planning Cllr Wayne Smith said: “This is a disappointment. We believed a garden town at Grazeley was a great way to provide homes local people need in a way that would safeguard our environmental and economic future. It seems that perhaps the Ministry of Defence isn’t in step with other parts of the government, as they awarded Grazeley garden city status in 2019.
“However, we’ve been looking at the alternatives and there are some other strong possibilities for us to explore. We need to do some more work and then will bring the best proposals to our residents in a consultation next year.”