Latest appeal in Thatcham Bath Road housing saga dismissed

Planning inspector says proposal would not contribute positively to the location

John Herring


John Herring


01635 886633

Latest appeal in Thatcham Bath Road housing saga dismissed

‘SIGNIFICANT shortcomings’ have led to plans to build on the ‘gateway into Thatcham’ on the Bath Road to be dismissed.

Newbury developer Duncan Crook’s latest attempt to build more houses and flats on numbers 131-141 has again been frustrated after planning inspector Tim Wood dismissed a scheme for three three-bedroom houses and 32 flats/maisonettes on appeal.

The site has been the subject of several planning applications and appeals.

A scheme for 11 flats for 139-141 was granted on appeal in 2009, with an application for 12 flats to be approved on appeal in 2012.

An application for six three-bedroom houses and 21 flats across the whole site was dismissed last year.

Nearby residents and Thatcham Town Council have objected to varying schemes over the years, largely because of the size of the development and its location on the junction of Henwick Lane.

Assessing the impact at the recent appeal Mr Wood said that three-storey flats in block B would ‘unacceptably dominate the street-scene’ and that the proposal  would not contribute positively to local distinctiveness and a sense of place.

Meanwhile, the three houses and flats in block C would ‘have an unacceptable effect on the living conditions of neighbours at 129a Bath Road’.

He notes that vehicles moving in a parking area would not disturb neighbours, contrary to concerns, particularly if an acoustic fence were constructed.

The size of the house gardens was another reason for the scheme being dismissed.

As the flats would likely be ‘non-family accommodation’, however, Mr Wood said that the Henwick fields could cater for this need.

Finally, Mr Wood said that he was satisfied that suitable drainage could be ensured through planning conditions, adding that Mr Crook has withdrawn the underground parking from this scheme.

Summing up the case Mr Wood said that Mr Crook had offered to amend the appeal in an attempt to overcome any objections that he may have raised. This found no joy, however.

“I am concerned that these matters would alter the appeal scheme in more than a minor way,” Mr Wood said.

“It seems to me that such revisions would not be sufficient to overcome the more fundamental objections to the proposal, even if it were appropriate to entertain them.

“It is accepted that the site is a sustainable location and could accommodate more housing as evidenced by the permission granted. However, there are significant shortcomings which I find outweigh any benefits arising from the proposal,” he signs off.

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