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Controversial plans for 325 homes in Theale are resubmitted

Regeneration of Lakeside to include extra 70 care units

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Controversial plans for 325 homes in Theale are resubmitted

UPDATED plans for 325 homes in Theale have been submitted. 

Central Corporation Securities Ltd is seeking to build the family homes and apartments at Lakeside, which it says will develop the derelict and underused site.

The application also includes 70 extra care units.

The mixture of homes will be built around the lake, situated between The Green and the A4, with access coming from The Green and St Ives Close.

Plans for 350 homes on the south side of the lake were approved on appeal in 2007.

The developer said that it wants to improve the application by spreading the homes across the site to achieve an appropriate density. It adds that the homes will not have a significant adverse impact on local roads.

Following a public consultation in August this year, where around 48 people attended with 33 completed comment forms received, the developer said that 67 per cent of respondents were in favour of the new plans.

There were concerns regarding overdevelopment of the site, however, with four- and five- storey buildings being too tall. Comments also highlighted congestion on local roads and the increased pressure on doctors’ surgery and schools.

Commenting on the application, Theale residents Andy and Teresa Simmons strongly objected, saying that their quiet road would be turned into a building site, owing to three planning applications in the area.

“Overall it is a crying shame that Theale is being made to be a dormitory suburb of Reading rather than the community-minded village that it is currently,” they said.

The couple added that the proposal to turn their close into an access route for the lake was not acceptable, as it would lead to a lack of privacy.

The original scheme included a 30 per cent affordable housing contribution but the developer now argues that the major cost of decontaminating the site has increased the risk and reduced profitability.

“We therefore conclude that the unusual circumstances of the site render it only marginally viable, even with zero affordable housing. The introduction of any level of affordable housing provision or other contribution renders the proposed development unviable,” the report states.

The district councillor for Theale, Alan Macro (Lib Dem) said that residents had raised concerns with him over access from St Ive’s Close. He also said that the high-rise buildings along the perimeter of the site would not represent “a good introduction” to Theale.

Mr Macro wanted an assurance that sewage disposal would be upgraded as the system was overloaded already.

He added that services in Theale were overstretched and called for doctors’ surgeries to be improved for the additional patients.

On the affordable housing, Mr Macro said: “They took a risk and the land has been standing empty ever since. Something has to give, maybe it should be profit over affordable housing.”

Theale Parish Council will discuss the application at a special meeting on Monday, November 30.

A decision is expected from West Berkshire Council by Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

To view the application enter 15/02842/OUTMAJ.

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