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Developer gets green light to complete more homes at Newbury Racecourse before bridge opens

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Developer David Wilson Homes had been restricted to completing no more than 250 homes before the bridge was opened and was seeking to increase the number to 421 houses.

The original condition was imposed when planning permission was granted by West Berkshire Council in 2010.

However, planners voted to remove it last Wednesday, agreeing that Network Rail's electrification works to the rail line had delayed the bridge, and therefore the scheme, through no fault of the developer.

If it was not removed, the developer argued, construction would stall when the 250th home was completed, expected to be in May.

The bridge is now not expected to open until October.

Managing director of David Wilson Homes, Daniel Pavely, added that it was unlikely any more than 350 homes would be completed by that time.

In total, 19 objections were submitted to the council on the grounds that allowing the additional houses to be built would result in increased traffic using the Stroud Green entrance.

This would include construction traffic for the eastern phase of the site, plus new residents living in the western phase and construction traffic for the bridge.

Roger Hunneman (Lib Dem, Victoria) said the increase in traffic would exacerbate congestion in the area with roads due to close on numerous occasions between April and September to allow for work on Boundary Road bridge.

However, Mr Pavely said that the levels of construction traffic had now reached its peak and would now begin to reduce as work on the bridge progresses.

Ward member Julian Swift-Hook (Lib Dem) said: “I think the application should be permitted.

“There’s going to be a slight increase in traffic, but it’s not going to generate masses of traffic at Stroud Green. It’s going to be minimal.”

He added that refusing the application would have more of a detrimental impact on residents already living at the racecourse, by causing the removal of all scaffolding and construction equipment which would only need to be erected again some months later.

In agreement was Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley), who said: “I support this. It will be delivering to us much-needed additional houses in the district.

“My main concern was the fact that the bridge might not be built.

“I was very reassured when we visited the site last week how much progress had been made on the bridge.

“I understand residents’ concerns with traffic, and it’s unfortunate Boundary Road will be closed at that time, but nonetheless I don’t think that should be a reason for us to refuse this.”

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