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West Berkshire councillors admit they "must do better"

Planning details overlooked on care home development

Chris Ord


01635 886639

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WEST Berkshire councillors have admitted they “must do better” when examining planning proposals, following criticism from Newbury residents.

Last week, members of the western area planning committee approved a final application to complete a 64-bed care home in London Road.

Residents are expected to take up occupancy at the home from September, after members of the planning committee approved plans for a heating, lighting and air-conditioning plant on the site.

Councillors voted in favour of the plans, submitted by developer Noosa Developments Limited, to erect 21 roof cowls and two screens to obscure the air condenser units from view – details that had initially been overlooked when the home was granted planning permission in 2013.

The nursing home has had a contentious development history with strong objections from neighbouring residents who, at one point labelled the plans a “gross over-development”, as well as the initial contractor going bust in December last year.

Addressing the committee, Angelika Rivero, who lives near to the development, said residents would now be churlish to object to the final additions.

She did, however, urge councillors to examine every detail of future applications, claiming neighbours were now left with a “clumsy” effort to conceal the air conditioning units and ventilation flues. 

“This is what happens when you allow a half-baked plan to be passed,” she added.

Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) said: “This has come to committee really because of the frustration the local residents have suffered and the anxiety that it has caused them.

“It’s about our process and I think it does make you think about the process.

She added: “It does make me think we need to double check when developments like this come in so we have all the bases covered at the time.”

Jeff Beck (Con, Clay Hill) added: “I would like to place on record the very constructive comments by Ms Rivero and in the old school boy terms, it’s a case of we must do better.”

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