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Faraday proposal date missed by council

Faraday Developers Limited (FDL) gained planning permission for the mixed-use scheme (illustration pictured) in Newbury’s Faraday Road industrial estate in May 2009, but with the application due to expire, a renewal application was submitted to West Berkshire Council on March 30, 2012.
The council should have decided the application within thirteen weeks, but forty weeks after the application was submitted, a decision is yet to be made.
The application, which was supported by Newbury Town Council in April last year, includes retail units, a hotel, a restaurant, takeaways, a motor dealership and 160 residential units.
However both the council and the developer said this week that they are keen to bring the scheme to fruition.
Spokeswoman for West Berkshire Council, Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “The local planning authority has statutory target dates to determine applications and, in this case, since the application is a major application, the target would have been 13 weeks following registration. Obviously this has not been met.
“In a case such as this, it is open to the applicant to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate but the applicant has not chosen to take that option since discussions with the council are continuing.
“The application is still current and undetermined as there have been issues to resolve with regard to the level of detailed information which accompanied the application and the new situation with regard to both Government policy and the new adopted West Berkshire core strategy requirements.
“As soon as officers have the information, it is likely that the application will be placed before the Western Area Planning Committee for decision. We are not currently able to give a date for this.”
Director of FDL, Duncan Crook said: “We are working with the council - we are attempting to establish what the information they are requesting and we are awaiting their response.
“It has been a very slow process. It’s a renewal application so by law it should be simpler. The application is supported by the council’s planning policy and included within that policy - area delivery planning policy area two.
“We are keen to get on with the scheme,” Mr Crook added.
The council recently carried out a £50,000 feasibility study on the London Road Industrial Estate, of which 25 acres is in council ownership.
The report stated that the council could transform the industrial estate into a “vibrant and sustainable mixed use quarter”, with a supermarket, 150,000sq ft of office space, a 100-room hotel, residential units overlooking the Kennet and Avon Canal, a crèche and care home, as well as community and health care facilities.
However, some of the existing ground leases have 100 years left to run.

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