Addington School nears completion

Construction work on the £4.4million single-storey block at Addington School in Woodley is almost complete. Fit out of the building is now entering the final stages, meaning the Ofsted-rated outstanding school will increase its capacity by about 50 students from September.

More young people will access the best SEND education possible in Wokingham borough at the school in Woodlands Avenue, with the school’s capacity now at around 250 students. The expansion means more young people will be educated closer to home, making families’ lives easier by reducing journey times, as well as reducing the council’s travel costs.

The building includes four classrooms, a café and social/breakout areas, will improve the lives of 50 more young people, due to the increased capacity, by giving them the best SEND education possible in the Wokingham borough. Construction of the new block follows the opening of two new multi-use games areas (MUGAs), a new sensory path and an expanded car park at the end of September 2019.

It follows the announcement of plans to build the new 150-place Oak Tree School. The free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Winnersh is a partnership between Wokingham Borough Council, Reading Borough Council and Brighter Future and will be operated by the Maiden Erlegh Trust.

“I’m delighted to see the Addington School expansion nearing completion and us opening its doors over the next few months,” said Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services. “We’re determined to provide fantastic educational facilities for our SEND young people and with 50 places soon to be opened at the Ofsted-rated outstanding Addington, and more on the way at the new school in Winnersh, we’re providing the space to do this.”

“Everyone at Addington School is excited to see the finishing touches being put to our new building,” said Sara Attra, headteacher at Addington School. “The building will perfectly fit the needs of our sixth form students and staff as well as allowing us to provide an outstanding education to even more young people in Wokingham borough. Our sixth form students can’t wait to use the excellent facilities in their new home and we are all looking forward to the day when we can cut the ribbon and officially open the building in the new school year.”

Claire Wakelin, Studio Director at HLM Architects, added: “This expansion means that more local children are able to take advantage of the great educational offerings at Addington School without having to travel far from their homes. 

“The team worked hard to create a safe and nurturing environment that both inspires and brings a sense of place, helping future pupils achieve their best potential. Working with our partners at Reds10 also meant we were able to optimise sustainability across the construction phase. Our commitment to using the most eco-friendly materials throughout also helps ensure site longevity with minimal environmental impact.”

The construction was completed by modular construction specialists Reds10, alongside our design partners HLM Architects. Sixty to 70 per cent of the building work for the new block will be completed modularly offsite, a decision made to reduce disruption to the school and its students.

This method also reduces the number of vehicle trips required as part of the project compared to traditional construction and will help Wokingham Borough Council towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

Michael Ruddick, Commercial Director at Reds10, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working in collaboration with our partners HLM, Wokingham Council and Addington School to deliver their new sixth form building. The Reds10 team are proud of the building we have delivered. While pushing the boundaries of off-site construction and providing a truly visually amazing educational space, we were able to significantly reduce the overall programme for delivery and achieve sustainable, enhanced carbon reduction features. All without compromising on the comfort of the building.”

An official opening on the new building and other facilities will take place in due course during the autumn.

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Wokingham Borough Council launches free counselling service for young people

Wokingham Borough Council has today announced the launch of ‘Kooth’, a free online counselling and emotional well-being support service for its younger residents aged 11 to 18 years. 

Working in partnership with Berkshire West CCG, West Berkshire Council and Brighter Futures for Children service, the council are reaching out to young people across the borough to offer them emotional support through digital counselling. Kooth, a service delivered by XenZone, provides young people a safe and secure means of accessing support from a professional team of qualified counsellors, therapists and support workers who provide guided, outcome-focused help for each individual. It also provides moderated, scheduled forums and self-help articles, many written by service users, to provide peer led and self-help support.  

“It is important for us to offer our young people emotional support through this valuable online project, especially during these unprecedented times,” said UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services. “There are no referrals, thresholds or waiting lists and young people can access this service anonymously by signing onto the Kooth website. This service will to reduce waiting times for young people seeking help while helping to remove the stigma around mental health and accessing services”.  

Award winning online counselling service Kooth has been accredited by The British Association of Psychotherapy and Counselling (BACP).  Founded in 2001, they are leading pioneers of online counselling in the UK, having won a number of prestigious awards. The website provides a unique out of office hours’ provision and is open 7 days per week, 365 days a year from noon until 10pm weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm on Saturday and Sundays.  For further details please visit

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Cartoon Christmas tree

Christmas events in Woodley town centre cancelled

The Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative has taken the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Christmas events due to the COvid 19 restrictions and guidelines. 

For further information or to discuss with the town centre manager, Brian Fennelly, please email:

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recycling wokingham woodley

Potential new changes to recycling across Wokingham borough

Wokingham Borough Council is considering bringing in weighted, water-proof sacks for its kerbside recycling collection to help keep paper and card dry.

Changes in the world market for recycled material have meant that wet paper and card is no longer being accepted by recycling plants – which is hitting the borough’s recycling rates and causing significant environmental and financial cost.

With the council committed to increasing its already good recycling rate, its decision making executive will this Thursday (July 30) consider approving the upfront funding necessary for a potential solution – the replacement of the current black boxes used for kerbside recycling, with waterproof and weighted hessian sacks. There would be no other change to the recycling service.

Executive member for environment Cllr Parry Batth said: “Wet paper and card is currently reducing our overall recycling rate by about 6%, which has an environmental and financial impact. We have looked at all the options available and found these sacks are the best option. They are water-proof, robust and are weighted down so they will not blow away. The sacks have a slightly larger capacity than the black bins and residents would not be limited in how many of them they have – so there will be no need to overfill them or for them to get too heavy.”

The council has considered other options such as lidded bins or ‘shower caps’ that could be fitted over bins but following a study commissioned from independent experts, these were found to be less effective overall in terms of factors such as impact on recycling rates and carbon emissions and cost.

In the longer term the council will consider other options to increase recycling such as wheelie bins but these could not be introduced with the current fleet of vehicles available and so are not a viable option in the short / medium term.

Cllr Batth added: “We have to work with what is possible. Some residents like the idea of wheelie bins and others don’t – but that is an issue for the future because they could not be practically introduced in the borough with our current contract and fleet of vehicles. We believe the weighted, waterproof sacks are the best way to go to solve the immediate problem we face.”

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Free community navigation scheme

Free community navigation scheme from Involve Community Services which aims to support individuals in the Wokingham Borough area to find social and/or physical activities to improve their wellbeing. The service is free for Wokingham Borough residents and/or people registered with a Wokingham Borough GP surgery.

Please see the posters for more information.

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woodford park leisure centre paddling pool

Paddling pool to remain closed

After careful consideration we have decided to keep the paddling pool at Woodford Park Leisure Centre closed for the remainder of this summer.

The required social distancing, restrictions on numbers able be in the pool and track and trace requirements mean that we would not be able to effectively and safely manage it.

We appreciate your understanding that the safety of everyone is our top priority.

Thank you.

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99 roads resurfaced across the borough

Thousands of residents have improved roads outside their homes after Wokingham Borough Council completed resurfacing on almost 100 streets across the area. The council took advantage of quieter roads in April and May to complete work on key travel routes across the borough when many were not using their cars.

Works have continued through the spring and into the summer, with more than £2million spent to improve surfaces in all areas of the borough. More investment in improving the borough’s roads will take place in September, with more full resurfacing schemes planned to take place through the autumn. More information on these will be made available later this summer, with residents on the roads the council will be working on informed directly by letter.

The works included 21 roads, which were carried over from our 2019-20 programme, which was delayed by wet weather.

Treatment typeCompletedCost (approx.)
Full resurfacing17£1,142,553
Surface dressing19£754,058

More information on the different types of roads treatment can be found on the council’s website

“We’ve earmarked £8million for road improvements across the borough in 2020-21 and it’s fantastic many residents will already be seeing the benefits of this,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport. “We know our residents want to see investment in our roads and with more than half the completed roads so far being residential, that means many will see it outside their own front doors, as well as on key transport routes.

“We’d like to thank our contractors and partners on this project, for helping us bring it forward quickly and take advantage of quieter roads to complete these improvements with minimal disruption to residents.”

Lockdown measures caused road usage in the borough to drop by 50 per cent and roadworks by utilities companies to drop by more than 33 per cent, providing an opportunity to complete work in potentially disruptive locations first including the A4 and the Showcase roundabout.

The roads were chosen through scoring from surveys on roads across the area, meaning the council spends money on roads where work is most needed. Work often takes place in off-peak hours during the day, 9.30am to 4pm, or overnight to minimise disruption to residents. 

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play area woodley Woodford park

New play area in Woodford Park

Woodley Town Council would like your views on the type of play equipment and features you would like to see in the new play area in Woodford Park behind the Oakwood Centre.

The project is in the planning stages and we are looking for feedback from play area users to help us develop the design brief. Once we have some design proposals we will be carrying out further consultation to choose the final design elements.

If you would like to contribute your views, please click HERE complete the short online survey.

Thank you.

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oakwood centre

The Oakwood Centre remains closed










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Wild flower meadow map across the borough

Bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects will be given an easy path through Wokingham borough thanks to a growing network of wildflower planting areas across the borough.

Wokingham Borough Council is supporting charity Buglife with its Berkshire B-lines map, which is being backed with funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The map highlights pre-existing wildflower areas and possible areas for targeted wildflower habitat creation. 

B-lines are existing and potential wildflower habitats which link towns to the countryside across the country. By providing these it is easier for insects to move across the area safely.

The council is already working to create new wildflower meadows across the borough, with more than 16,500 sqm, the equivalent of more than two football pitches, planted in 2019, at locations including Kitwood Drive, Lower Earley; Hurricane Way, Woodley; and Woosehill Spine Road, Woosehill.

The B-lines already cover many areas where the council is working to maintain longer grass and meadow areas including Ashenbury Park in Woodley, Winnersh Meadows and Riverside Park in Earley.

Country parks and green spaces are also part of the network, with areas including Dinton Pastures and California Country Park having areas with specialised management to encourage pollinators and attract insects in specific areas.

“Pollinating insects are the lifeblood of our environment so anything we can do to support them as part of this project is fantastic,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment. “We’re already carrying out work to maximise the opportunities for wildflowers across the borough and it’s great we can link these up to be part of Buglife’s plans for the whole country. We look forward to working with them to support their vital work, which is being supported by Government funding.”

The B-lines project aims to connect the county’s best remaining wildlife sites through targeted wildflower habitat creation. Bees and other pollinators are disappearing from the UK’s countryside because of a lack of wildflower-rich habitats. 

Creating pollinator habitat along B-Lines will help wildlife move across our countryside, saving threatened species and making sure that there are plenty of pollinators out there to help us grow crops and pollinate wildflowers.

Catherine Jones, pollinator officer from Buglife, said: “B-Lines provide an exciting opportunity for everyone to support our struggling insect pollinators. By working together to create a network of wildflower-rich habitats, we can support healthy populations of bees and other pollinators enabling them respond to threats such as climate change.”

Sam Cartwright, senior biodiversity and planning officer from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Insect abundance has plummeted in recent years and a step-change is needed in how we target our collective efforts to restore their numbers. 

“This network of B-Lines will help to prioritise local action for pollinating insects in the places where it will be most beneficial. Crucially, these B-Lines will also contribute to Berkshire’s wider nature recovery network.”

A full list of areas we maintain with wildflowers and meadows, which are part of the network, are listed below:

·         Ashenbury Park

·         Winnersh Meadows

·         Riverside Park

·         Spencers Wood Cemetery

·         Charvil Meadows and Charvil Country Park

·         Dinton Pastures Country Park and Lavells Lake

·         Winnersh Marsh

·         Sindlesham Meadows

·         The Grove

·         Hazebrouck Nature Park

·         Rooks Nest Wood

·         California Country Park

·         Warren Wood

·         The Moors

·         Heathlake.

Hurricane Way

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