The Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham was launched after a leaked document revealed that Green Belt land in Ruscombe was being considered for a large development of housing. We are working on the legal arguments with a team of top advisors and lawyers, at the same time as broadening the campaign to promote a much more resident-centred approach which would build the homes that are needed without destroying the character of the area or exacerbating the traffic crisis.
Our work with our professional advisors has given us real hope that these excessive developments can be averted, but despite the clear legal position we face a real uphill battle to defend our rights. Developers have deep pockets and will stop at nothing to promote their agenda.
It is vital to demonstrate to the Council that there is wide support for the campaign from residents, local parish and borough councillors, and this has been very evident at the packed public meetings in Twyford, as well as on our Facebook page and is growing daily.
Recently we have:
- Appointed a firm of planning consultants to represent the interests of the campaign and its followers.
- Appointed a top barrister to represent our case, should we need to go to public inquiry.
- Obtained whole-hearted support from both our Parish Councils and our Borough Councillors, of all political persuasions. The campaign team is working very closely with the councillors to achieve our shared goal.
- Spoken in person to more than a thousand residents, businesses, parish councils and other interested parties since launch.
- Achieved good press coverage of our activities.
- Gained nearly 1,000 followers on our Facebook page and a similar amount of ‘likes’.
- Met and gained support from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
- Started fund raising and have had a good initial response.
- Gained a huge amount of public and institutional support.
We thank you for that.
There is clearly much to be done and we are planning a schedule of activities for the crucial period of January-May 2018 when we anticipate the Public Consultation on WBC’s preferred options will be launched. Please make sure you have signed up to our email list and we will keep you in touch.
Who is running the campaign?
The campaign was set up by John Halsall, WBC Councillor for Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe, and is apolitical with support from people of all political views. We have a team of people with expertise in planning, legal issues and marketing as well as local parish and borough councillors, and a rapidly growing supporter base locally.
We have set up a company limited by guarantee to act as the legal body for the campaign. Setting up a charity is nowadays a very lengthy process, but Companies House has created this new vehicle for not for profit associations like ours – companies limited by guarantee. There will be no paid directors nor employees but we are employing a planning agent (a firm) and a leading barrister, to advise and provide expert professional expertise.