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Residents dismayed over Siege Cross Farm plans

Residents dismayed over Siege Cross Farm plans
THATCHAM has suffered from over-development dur-ing the past three decades and the infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the influx of people, according to one resident.He was talking after seeing developer A2Dominion’s outline application...

THATCHAM has suffered from over-development dur-ing the past three decades and the infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the influx of people, according to one resident.

He was talking after seeing developer A2Dominion’s outline application for the phased development of up to 495 homes at Siege Cross Farm.

The 34.59-hectare site is designated as countryside as it lies outside Thatcham’s settlement boundary. While the application includes provision for a new primary school, a park and a community facility yet to be decided, residents have said that the town was rapidly becoming one big housing estate that was close to breaking point.

Saying that there was an acute shortage of facilities, Terry Hammond commented on West Berkshire Council’s planning portal: “We all know that it starts off with a declared figure of 500 houses, but, in reality, as in the case of the old army depot [site], it ends up in excess of 800 with all the extra strain that this obscene figure would put on the local community infrastructure.

“All the objections that caused the last application to build houses on the Siege Cross Farm Estate to fail, are still very much the same if not far worse, today.”

Another resident, David Hymers added: “This development is far too large and will have a detrimental effect on already overstretched infrastructure in Thatcham, especially as it contains no provision for secondary education places. Thatcham is full and there should be no more major developments in the area.”

Access to the development would come from enlarging the Sony roundabout at the junction of the A4 and Piper’s Way with another route coming off Floral Way between Archangel Way and Simmons Field.

Residents have said that the access off of Floral Way would be dangerous, as it is located on the bend of a hill, and that the road already suffers from congestion caused by drivers wanting to avoid queues on the A4.

Kathryn Hodgson, who lives nearby, said that this problem was further exacerbated by people caught in the notorious traffic jams while waiting at Thatcham station.

Mrs Hodgson said that a proposed satellite site of Francis Baily Primary School at Siege Cross would also lead to an increase in traffic.

The impact on education was discussed by another resident, who questioned where children from the additional families would be educated.

“There is no secondary-school provision”, she said. “Kennet School is already oversubscribed and many many of Thatcham’s children already have to travel to school in Newbury. This development would push yet more of Thatcham’s existing children over into the Trinity catchment area, potentially separating siblings once the development is built.”

Thatcham town councillors will discuss the application at
a meeting of their planning
and environment committee tonight.

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