75-home plan for Thatcham turned down
Developer is considering its options following council's refusal
A DEVELOPER is considering its options after a scheme to build 75 homes in Thatcham was turned down.
West Berkshire Council has rejected Bloor Homes’ application for 75 homes in a greenfield site to the east of Tull Way. Bloor said that its scheme could be “assimilated into the character of the surrounding area without having an adverse impact upon the wider landscape setting of the site and Thatcham”.
However, the council disagreed and said that the homes would have “an urbanising and detrimental impact on the character and appearance of this attractive part of Thatcham”.
An application for 90 homes in the field was also refused on appeal in 2013 after the planning inspectorate ruled it would harm the character and appearance of the area.
Bloor’s recent scaled-down scheme also failed to find favour with planning chiefs. The council was not satisfied that the layout of the homes, which it described as unsympathetic, would protect the character of the area.
Nearby residents submitted 38 letters of objection to the plans, saying that the scheme would lead to the urbanisation of a rural part of the town.
Fears that the green gap between Newbury and Cold Ash would be diminished were also raised. Residents were also concerned about traffic, an increased flood risk and that the town’s infrastructure would not be able to cope with the extra homes.
Thatcham Town Council and Cold Ash Parish Council both objected to the plans for the site, which was not included in a list of preferred housing sites but is within Thatcham’s settlement boundary.
Addressing fears about the impact on the town’s infrastructure, the council said that no undue impact was expected on services and amenities that would not be addressed through an appropriate level of developer’s contributions.
The limitations of the drainage system sparked concerns among West Berkshire Council engineers, adding that this had not been accounted for.
However, Thames Water did not object on the proviso that water be disposed with no connection to the public system.
The council’s public open space officer had objected to the proposed layout on the grounds that another sports pitch would better fulfil Thatcham’s needs.
However, the council said that this objection could not be supported, as the site was considered capable of providing sufficient public and private amenity space.
As to the concerns about access from Tull Way, the council said that the access would need to be changed to increase the width of the carriageway.
A spokesman for Bloor Homes Southern said: “Our proposals for Tull Way have been carefully designed to provide an attractive residential development in a landscaped setting, which both reflects the character of the area and accords with relevant planning policy considerations.
“We are naturally disappointed that outline planning permission for the development has been refused, and we are now considering our options.”