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Go-ahead for Aldermaston industrial estate plans

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West Berkshire Council has formally approved plans to develop a major industrial estate in Paices Hill, Aldermaston, marking the end of a year-long village controversy.

Developer Lesimar Ltd intends to move commercial tenants onto the repurposed site, a former gravel pit and banger racetrack.

The site is heavily contaminated, and is situated just outside the settlement boundary, but the applicant argued that its proximity to adjacent towns and villages made the project commercially viable.

Concept art of the development.
Concept art of the development.

A total of 23 units will be constructed, with the use of each determined according to the tenant's needs, after permission was granted last Wednesday.

In a document outlining the plans, they stated: "The mix of units to be provided would be a direct reaction to local business demand, with units as small or as large as required being provided for in different zones.

"The development will be set back from Paices Hill with additional boundary planting to be provided for screening.

"Overall, we believe these proposals represent a sustainable employment use for the local area whilst being sensitive and aware of the surrounding environment."

Aldermaston Parish Council had expressed its opposition to the proposals on multiple occasions, and has even criticised planners for allegedly failing to take into account potential impact of the development.

In its most recent statement, the council said: "There are many historic assets in our parish that have been significantly negatively impacted by proximity to insensitive commercial development and its wider effects, and would argue that, just because some damage has already been inflicted, does not mean that further damage is acceptable or permissible.

"WBC should assert its responsibility to protect nationally recognised heritage assets.

"In summary, we question the suitability of this site on a number of grounds and would encourage further in-depth analysis based on what is actually happening on the ground in the area rather than assuming a theoretical ideal."

Concerns have also been raised by villagers over increased traffic around the site as a result of the development, but planning officers did not assess this to be a likely prospect.

Planning permission was subject to a number of conditions, including that the ground contamination issues be dealt with.

Lesimar Ltd is expected to set out a scheme for this, and the process will be monitored by the council.

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