WEST Berkshire Council is set to refuse planning permission for up to 2,000 homes and two new primary schools at Sandleford Park after developer Bloor Homes refused to help pay for an access road on to the A339.
The council insists that the development is only deliverable with four access roads into the site – two from Monks Lane, one from the A343 Warren Road and another from the A339 Newtown Road.
But Bloor Homes remains adamant the site can be served by just two roads on to Monks Lane and doesn’t want to make a financial contribution to the A339 access.
This week, in a damning response to the district’s largest application, the council’s highways team says that the two parties are unlikely to reach an agreement and has recommended the plans are turned down.
It comes in the same week that Bloor submitted a fresh application for 1,000 homes and one primary school.
The council has already secured £2.9m of the money it needs for the A339 access, but was banking on the developer coughing up the remainder.
Highways development control leader Paul Goddard said: “The argument on whether this site can, or at least 1,900 houses of it, be served by just two accesses on to Monks Lane instead of the council’s requirement for three, or preferably four, accesses, has impacted on all consideration of this planning application.
“It has impacted upon it to such an extent that I consider that I can no longer make any progress and therefore I must recommend refusal of it.”
He added: “I have concluded that it’s unlikely that we are going to reach any agreement with the applicants on issues such as how this development is going to be provided with regards to the provision of accesses and mitigation.
“A stage has now been reached where the applicants are refusing to have little or no involvement in the delivery of the A343 and the A339 access.”
The council’s highways team also says proposals to improve Newbury’s fragile road network are insufficient and slammed Bloor Homes for ‘ignoring and dismissing’ its concerns about traffic.
The highways response adds: “The proposed mitigation continues to be insufficient in a number of ways, as it does not reduce traffic queues at some key junctions.
“In fact in some cases it makes them longer, consistently narrow traffic lanes, detriment to pedestrians and cyclists and in some instances what is being proposed is undeliverable and is contrary to plans being pursued by the highway authority.”
Concluding, he says: “The applicants have repeatedly demanded further meetings, but unless there is a fundamental change in direction by the applicants, from all that is written above, I consider such a process has now been exhausted and would not be a good use of council time and money to go over the same arguments.
“It would seem that we not going to agree on items such as access strategy as we haven’t done so in three years, and it would also seem that we are not going to agree mitigation either.
“We are therefore quite ready to refuse the planning application.”