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180-home development may come to Greenham

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Another slice of Greenham’s green fields could be developed for housing if plans go ahead for a 180-home development to be sited north of Haysoms Drive.

Pro Vision Planning and Design submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Opinion to West Berkshire Council last week as part of preliminary work before applying for a “comprehensive and cohesive redevelopment scheme”.

The application is a formal request to the council to determine whether the future development might cause enough of an impact on the environment to require an EIA.

Property developer Rivar Ltd confirmed this week that it is heading up the planned project on land adjacent to Equine Way and north of Haysoms Drive.

Company director Malcolm Bull said that it was in the “preliminary” stages of development and added that it would not be in a position to provide further concrete information until at least November.

The EIA application submitted to West Berkshire Council includes a summary of the future project which reads: “The proposals provide an opportunity to deliver a comprehensive and cohesive redevelopment scheme for a currently vacant and degraded area of former landfill operations, building upon the relative proximity of Newbury town centre.

“The residential development comprises circa 180 new homes, with 40 per cent affordable housing.

“A variety of house types and sizes are proposed to meet the needs of the local community.

“The scheme will boost Newbury’s housing land supply.

“The arc of multifunctional green infrastructure will be created and managed for wildlife.

“This element of the scheme will secure an area of public open space and a green gap between Newbury and Greenham.”

It adds that if plans went ahead new road access would be provided through Pinchington Lane and Haysoms Drive.

The area of development is also listed by West Berkshire Council as a preferred option for new housing in its most recent housing site allocation plan for Newbury and Thatcham.

The single largest concern brought forward by the applicant is that of a potentially “high” impact on reptiles and great crested newts on the land.

Senior conservation officer at the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, Heather Lewis, said of the application: “The local environment is highly sensitive to this kind of development.

“Legally protected wildlife species such as great crested newts have been recorded on the development site, and there are habitats of national importance within 200m of the site.

“Important populations of internationally protected birds such as nightjar and Dartford warbler are also present locally and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of increased urban population nearby.”

The organisation added it would be writing to West Berkshire Council to ask for it to seek an Environmental Impact Assessment from the applicant.

Heather Lewis said: “We would expect the design of the proposed development to seek to achieve a net gain for wildlife, as required by national planning policy.”

Greenham parish councillor Julian Swift-Hook said: “I’m horrified to see plans to build on this precious greenfield gap land.

“The lane is the green lung that separates Greenham from Newbury, and filling it with yet more housing is the last thing that Greenham needs.

“I will be seeking a meeting with the landowner as soon as possible to discuss the plans.”

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