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Lib Dems' Dismay at Tory Mis-management of Elms Field Development Proposals

February 1, 2008 12:00 PM

The Leader of the Wokingham Liberal Democrats has criticised Wokingham Tories for mismanagement of the Elms Field development proposals. Wokingham Borough Council proposes large-scale development on Elms Field, a council-owned recreation site in the heart of Wokingham.

Councillor Prue Bray (Leader of the Liberal Democrat councillor group and councillor for Winnersh ward) said, "The Conservative councillors have mismanaged the Elms Field project from the beginning. They should have held workshops for residents and stakeholders right from the start, to gain consensus on what should happen to Elms Field. Once broad agreement had been reached on what kind of development, if any, people want on Elms Field, then a proper developers' brief should have been drawn up.

"Instead, the Tories asked developers what THEY wanted to see on Elms Field, giving them a blank sheet. As no restrictions were placed on them by the Council, it's no surprise that the developers proposed large-scale development over the whole parkland. It was equally no surprise that residents were horrified with the plans.

"I am very concerned that the Council seems to have committed to commercial development on Elms Field before any proper consultation about what should go on there has been done. This commitment to commercial development is clearly stated in a document submitted to the recent planning appeal regarding the cricket club site in Wellington Road. I find it most worrying that the Tories completely denied this to be the case, even when I was waving the document at them. Either they don't know what is going on in the council they are supposed to be running, or they are trying to hide the truth.

"This is a disgrace and demonstrates the Tories' complete mismanagement of this hugely important site. After the Elms Field workshop I thought that the Conservatives had finally seen the light, but listening to them at Thursday's council meeting, I am afraid they are still operating in the dark. If they carry on dealing with Elm Field like this, the next thing we know, bulldozers will be digging up the children's playground."