Finally we are going to be able to see what the Wilson Bowdens Developments of Barratt Developments and penned that will suit our needs and be worth their while in the sale of property.
I can see the business attraction. Land in Wokingham is expensive, properties sell quickly for good money. Build costs are flat so if you want to make good money, with the same build cost you can sell a property for twice as much in Wokingham as perhaps one hours drive away.
Building a new community is simply not as profitable as tacking it onto an existing one.
The new 2 bed flats in Molly Millars are up for £180k. I don't know the build cost but I'm going to guess at three flats cost about 250k.
That is quite a profit. More than 100% if the land is free, which it is not. Far from it. Land with planning permission is very expensive here. The normally developer trick is to buy a farm, turn it into a dump and stir the locals up to insist it is developed on.
You may hear the terms section 106 batted around. This is the contribution that a developer pays to the council to agree to permit the proposal.
I have heard section 106 figures batted around typically per dwelling. 7k, 16k, 28k. This would need to be looked at in conjunction with what the developers are going to be selling, flats, supermarket, shops and we should have to factor a bit for the contributory works. We all heard the £3m for landscaping what will be left of Elms field. I'd personally expect to pay one 10th of that and can recommend some locals to do it.
Elms Field is a funny one because it belongs to the council, or rather us. So selling it and allowing development should demand a very high section 106 per dwelling.
The properties will be very close to the town centre and train station. I would perhaps like to see a retrospective one on sale price. 30% perhaps. Alternatively every third home should be transferred cost free to the council for affordable housing.
Do not confuse affordable housing with developer contributions. They must simply be build to conform to the affordable homes standards and sold specifically to us or housing associations for affordable housing use. It would almost seem that affordable housing is a guaranteed sale for the developers.
Our Historic Market Town has been bombarded with developments over the last 20 years. It's pretty safe to say that it in no-way resembles a Market town any more. It seems everyone has a story or compulsory purchases of farms for too little and a developer making money. So I am very wary of us giving up another bit of green space in the heart of our town.
I wish the council would come up with a critical mass point. But I suspect Wokingham will just become another medium town centre, surrounded by houses with box rooms and no parking with plenty of passing trade. No longer the town for the locals. Another vibrant hub that lost its soul. Never to appear on a 'Best place to live' list again.
Should we wish to live in a town like Wokingham is we would eventually have to move. Eventually the developers, literally unable to cram in any more pretty from the outside box room no parking small garden homes, will also leave Wokingham and look for a quaint community elsewhere that has been noted.
I accept that the towns 1960 retail buildings are hideous. I would have liked us to face lift them using our own mini economy gradually and sustainably using local trade paid a living wage . We have reached a saturation point and gone beyond it. We can not sell, drink and eat our way out of the incestuous bankers and politicians bust. Our expansion will help best if the local trade were doing the job gradually. Not a rapid growth sale and cram with work carried out by cheap labour from abroad. The congestion and school places problems not even assessable from Molly Millars and the cricket field developments.
The jury is still out. My fears may not be realised.
The website is here http://wokinghamregeneration.co.uk/
The planning consultation document is interesting. The concerns about the reduction in Elms Field is not answered, congestion not even an attempt, sound like they are going for a, well we will build everything and if there is a problem (which there will be) we will fix it (which is impossible and compounded), we know schools is a big problem and we don't want those crammed either. The ones close to the people south west of the town now unable to supply their local needs. There is also the problem that south east water is unable to cope each summer.
Please do pay them a visit on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th and ask them the real questions. Minimum room sizes. Parking spaces per dwelling. Section 106, how the new shops will be owned / paid for. What school will the children go to, if so what school will the children further out now have to drive to and though what additional congestion. Is south east water increasing their capacity to cop with the 6000 + homes already o the cards in our surrounding farms? Always make sure that the solutions are going to be in place before they are problems.
Wokingham is a very old town. The original layout was never designed to support the level of through traffic we have now have . And the more you build the worse the impact of infrastructure works will be.