THERE has been yet another delay to the controversial Sandleford Park development – as developers requested more time to iron out a number of planning concerns.
Developer Bloor Homes Southern has submitted proposals to build 2,000 new homes, two new primary schools and a 215-acre country park on greenbelt land off Monks Lane, south Newbury.
The council typically has 13 weeks to decide on whether to approve or refuse a major planning application.
The Sandleford application was submitted in December – meaning the deadline for a decision would have been the end of April.
However, planning consultant Boyer, which is working with Bloor Homes on the application, requested that deadline be extended until July 29 and the council has agreed.
The council’s highways team previously launched a scathing attack on the application and told the developer to return to the drawing board before it could seriously consider it.
In its formal response to the district’s largest-yet residential development, the highways department blasted the developer’s traffic surveys as inaccurate and out of date.
It also said its plan to adapt junctions and roundabouts to cope with the extra traffic was fundamentally flawed.
The council’s highways and development control team leader, Paul Goddard, questioned the developer’s claims thatSandleford could work with two access roads rather than four, saying it was “anything but proven”.
Bloor Homes hit back at the criticism and remained adamant that the scheme could work with two accesses rather than four.
Daniel Hayman, from Bloor Homes, said: “With the mitigation measures proposed, Bloor Homes Southern is content that the development can take place with two accesses and the technical reports which have been submitted show this.”
Mr Goddard was also critical of the developer’s proposed improvements to several roundabouts and junctions, including the double roundabout in Wash Common, saying it was ill-thought-out.
In its conclusion, the council said that, in order to progress the planning application, it needed more detail on mitigation and traffic distribution and phasing.
A spokesman for West Berkshire Council, Martin Dunscombe, said: “The determination date for making a decision on the application was never set in stone, but it has now been put back to the end of July to discuss various planning considerations.
“It’s not at all unusual for that to happen with an application of this size. It is important to get everything right.”
To read the full response to the Sandleford application, visit http://planning.westberks. gov.uk/rpp/index.asp? caseref=15/02300/OUTMAJ and click on highways response.