CONCERNED residents have thrown their weight behind a petition against local 'deforestation of a woodland' in Lower Earley.

Swallows Meadow, beside Lower Earley Way, Lower Earley, was formerly owned by the University of Reading, until around two months ago when it was sold to Lower Earley Properties LTD, a subsidiary to large-scale property developers Jansons Property.

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Earlier this month, the company undertook the removal of greenery one the site, of which has led to local councillors who disagree with the move to start a petition.

The petition aims to signal to potential property developers and the Wokingham Borough Council that local councillors and residents in the area would 'robustly oppose' the development of housing or other infrastructure to be built on the land.

So far, the petition has attracted more than 770 signatures.

Earley Town Councillor Andrew Mickelburgh, Lib Dem, said: "Clive Jones, David Hare and I share the concerns that residents have raised, including fears that this might be in preparation for future residential or related ‘development’.

"In June, Earley Town Council proposed that this land be protected as a Local Green Space.

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"It is part of an important green corridor that stretches along the sides of Lower Earley Way from the Showcase roundabout to Pearmans Copse Nature Reserve (at the foot of Ryhill Way).

"We hope you add your voice to those of the many fellow residents who want this green space preserved for future generations by signing this petition, which will be sent to the landowners and to Wokingham Borough Council."

A spokesperson for Lower Earley Properties Ltd commented: “The site was recently purchased by Lower Earley Properties Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of parent company, Jansons Property. 
“The site is private land and, as part of the purchase, routine landscape maintenance work has been undertaken. This was to clear areas of poor-quality scrubland and vegetation, whilst protecting any established trees. 
“We are now looking at how best we can bring forward development at the site to make a positive contribution to the local area. 
 “We are at a very early stage in the process but look forward to engaging constructively with the local community, Earley Town Council and Wokingham Borough Council in the coming months.” 
 To sign the petition, visit