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Plans for Live/work units at Crookham pub resubmitted

Plans also lodged to extend B&B rooms at the Travellers Friend

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Plans for Live/work units at Crookham pub resubmitted

NEW plans for live/work accommodation and additional bed and breakfast rooms in order to help a Crookham pub have been submitted.

Newbury developer Ressance, on behalf of landlady Julie Goode, wants to build five live/work units, including one affordable unit, on land north of the Travellers Friend on Crookham Common Road.

The homes, which would be east of the Park Home site, would also comprise room for three office workers.

The developer has also submitted an application for a new building containing seven bed and breakfast rooms and to extend the village shop, which is run by the pub’s owner. Ressance said that both applications would “make a very valuable contribution to the rural economy”.

The live/work application has received a mixed response so far.

Brimpton resident John Barham said that the creation of a local workplace could minimise traffic through Newbury, Thatcham and Brimpton by reducing the need to commute.

Park home resident Norman Kay said he would strongly object, however, and accused Mrs Goode of pushing her own needs while causing permanent disruption to residents.

Peter Kennard added that the park homes would be overlooked by the properties and that the construction would cause disruption for residents, the majority of whom are elderly.

Thatcham Town Council raised no objection, subject to an assurance that the work units would be retained in perpetuity.

Ressance said that the extra rooms were greatly needed as the existing B&B is often fully booked and that the additional rooms would aid economic growth in a rural location.

They added that the owners intend to improve the pub, restaurant, function room and shop, which will include an area for residents of the live/work units to exhibit and sell their goods should the plans be approved.

This is the second time the owners are seeking permission after an application for four live/work units was refused earlier this year.

Members of West Berkshire Council’s eastern area planning committee felt that the scheme would “ride coach and horses” through their housing policy if the plans were approved.

Councillors were told that the authority does not have a policy regarding live/work accommodation and that the business use would be difficult to control if permission was granted.

Ressance has launched an appeal against the council’s refusal alongside the new application for the live/work units.

A report from the director of the Live/Work Network, commissioned by Ressance, said that live/work is a sui generis use and that permission would be required to change the work element.

It adds that the council has approved several live/work schemes and has applied planning conditions to control use.

A decision on the live/work units is expected from West Berkshire Council by Thursday, January 21. To view the application enter 15/02697/FULMAJ into the council’s planning website. The B&B decision is due by Wednesday, December 23 and can be viewed by entering 15/02713/FUL  

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