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Council warned of "developers on the prowl"

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Thatcham Vision must be refreshed sooner rather than later, urges town councillor

MEMBERS of Thatcham Town Council were warned about delaying refreshing the parish plan at a meeting on Monday in case it led to unwanted development.

The Thatcham Vision, the town's parish plan, was drawn up five years ago and town and district councillor Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) warned that it should be reviewed sooner rather than later.

He said that, with the current uncertainty over plans for more housing in West Berkshire, Thatcham needed the protection of a parish plan to stipulate what, if any, developments were needed.

He said: “It's about protecting the town from a development that might be outside the development framework for the area.

“It's pretty remote, but you never know.

“Developers are prowling around and if the Government inspector says that you can only build on a, b and c in Newbury and not Thatcham then they won't submit an application in Thatcham, but if it's neutral he may say, let's pop in one application in Thatcham.”

“The concern is that if a developer came forward with a plan for development in Thatcham, it could find acceptance.

“We don't want that because of the lack of infrastructure.

“It's very important that the parish plan is up-to-date – five years is a long time.”

However, Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North) said that he thought that refreshing the parish plan should wait until the next financial year.

He said: “The town council is a strong advocate for resisting development within our town, as infrastructure had not kept pace with development in the past.

“By starting to plan for the refresh now and looking to deliver it in the new financial year, it will put the town in a stronger position to resist development in the future that has no benefit to our town and that doesn't support the aims of our parish plan.”

The finance and general purposes committee of the town council unanimously agreed that Thatcham Vision would start looking into a refreshed plan immediately, although more funding was needed and had yet to be sourced.

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