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Barkham - Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG)
Work is underway to convert 18.5 hectares of [Wokingham Borough Council owned] farmland in Barkham into an informal countryside site open to the public. The site is needed to mitigate the impact of small scale development within the borough on the nearby Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, and all the works including the future maintenance will be paid by developer contributions.
Planning permission to develop the site was secured in August 2009 and [Councillors] agreed a capital bid to pump prime project in February of this year. Landscaping works are due to commence in the summer of 2010 and should (fingers crossed) be complete in time for the site to open in April 2011.
Access to the site will be from Barkham Ride via a new 20 space car park leading to over 2km of new surfaced footpaths on the site. Landscaping wise about half of the site is to be retained and developed as wildflower meadows, with the remaining area planted as a new woodland. The plan is to plant around 11,000 new trees and shrubs on the site including oak, birch, ash, hazel, hawthorn, field maple and rowan. The site is quite wet in places and this will allow us to excavate 4 new wildlife ponds.
Whilst it will take many years for the trees to reach maturity it is hoped the site will become a quiet haven for both the local wildlife and the existing and future residents of the borough from the day it is opened.
From the Wokingham Borough Council Place & Neighbourhoods Bulletin for April 2010
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