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Housing sites document approved

Public jeers as controversial sites approved

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Email:

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

West Berkshire Council logo

A HUGELY controversial document which outlines the council's preferred sites for future housing was approved last night despite widespread objection from thousands of residents.

West Berkshire Council's housing allocation development plan document (DPD) lists 27 sites across West Berkshire which could accomodate 1,600 homes.

The council's executive member for planning, Alan Law, said that having a DPD would protect the district from developers and warned that opposing it would open up the floodgates for a "planning free-for-all".

However, the decision to approve the document last night (Thurs) was met with jeers from more than 100 members of the public primarily opposing sites in Thatcham and Tilehurst. 

Speaking at last night's special meeting, where the public and councillors were not allowed to ask questions, Mr Law added: "Will we hand over control to developers or appeals from planning inspectors, or will it be on elected members of the council?"

Addressing residents he said: "Don't be too hard on councillors when they vote, they probably don't like these individual sites anymore than you do. But what they are doing is trying to protect you."  

Conservative councillors from Thatcham, Cold Ash and Pangbourne (Roger Croft, Garth Simpson and Pamela Bale) said that they didn't agree with the housing sites identified in their ward but voted to support the document regardless.

But it didn't all go smoothly for the Conservative councillors as the three members of Birch Copse ward rebelled and said they would not support the document.

The four Liberal Democrat members of the council objected to the DPD. 

The sites are split across four areas of the district; Newbury and Thatcham; the east Kennet valley; the eastern urban area; and in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Sites include 140 and 160 properties on land to the north of Haysoms Drive and land adjoining Equine Way in Greenham.

Also proposed are: approximately 100 homes between Bath Road, Lambourn Road and the A34 in Speen; Thatcham’s Lower Way field is outlined for approximately 87 homes; 140 homes are outlined for the Pirbright Institute at Compton; land adjoining Pondhouse Farm, Clayhill Road in Burghfield Common could see 100 dwellings; and 100 homes are on a preferred site off Salisbury Road in Hungerford.

The document will go out to a formal consultation from November 9 until December 21. 

For more on the meeting, reaction and analysis see Thursday's Newbury Weekly News. 

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