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Crookham live/work units dismissed

No ‘economic need’ for development at Crookham pub

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

Plans for Live/work units at Crookham pub resubmitted

A PUB in Crookham is the wrong place for live/work units, a planning inspector has ruled.

Newbury developer Duncan Crook, of Ressance Ltd, had applied to build four live/work buildings on land behind the Traveller’s Friend pub, Crookham Common Road.

The properties would have comprised residential space, with the work component comprising three employment spaces next to the Park Home site, designated as a rural area under West Berkshire Council’s planning policy.

Mr Crook said the application, submitted on behalf of landlady Julie Goode, would boost the local rural economy. He also said the units would help to develop the pub and enable it to thrive economically.  

The council turned down the plans, however, and said the scheme would “ride coach and horses” through its housing policy if the plans were approved.

The developer launched an appeal against the council’s decision and submitted a separate application for five live/work units and one affordable house. This was later withdrawn. 

Planning inspector Gareth Jones has sided with the council and dismissed the appeal.  

Saying that while there were benefits to be gained from the units they were not location specific, which was the key issue of the appeal.

Mr Crook had argued that the district has a higher than average number of people working from home.

But Mr Jones said there was no substantive evidence that the offices were not available or affordable in more sustainable locations.

Mr Jones said there was also no evidence that the pub would close if the proposal was not given the go-ahead. He added that, as any proceeds from the development would not be explicitly tied to pub, the argument over the units supporting the pub carried little weight. 

“Consequently… I consider that the economic need for live/work units in this particular location has not been adequately demonstrated and thus the proposal would not accord with addressing an identified need.”

The council also raised concerns over controlling the work section of the dual-use properties, fearing that the office space could be removed and lead to housing in the countryside.

Mr Crook has submitted a unilateral undertaking with the council so that the business use could be retained and that planning permission would be required for any change of use.

Plans for a new building containing seven bed and breakfast rooms at the Traveller’s Friend are currently being considered by West Berkshire Council.

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