A CONTROVERSIAL housing development in Cold Ash has narrowly been approved by West Berkshire Council.
Outline plans for 75 new homes at Coley Farm in Stoney Lane had been recommended for approval and were eventually given the go-ahead by a single vote during a tense meeting of the council’s district planning committee last night (Thursday).
Residents had pleaded with councillors to reject the proposals raising concerns over highways safety, flooding and the impact on the local countryside.
However chairing the meeting Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) reminded members that the council had, just one year ago, voted to approve the site for development by including it in the local plan (the HSA DPD).
After hearing arguments for and against Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham, Central) made a proposal that the committee members follow the officers’ recommendations and approve the site.
Agreeing, Paul Bryant (Con, Speen) pointed to other ongoing planning applications including those at Sandleford and Hungerford saying: “If we are to refuse this application I think there are half a dozen other applications which will have to be refused.
“We have a requirement to provide so many houses that’s been laid on us by the government and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“If we can’t provide those houses it will be ruled by the Government’s planning inspector.
“Not where we want to have it, not where the public want to have it but where the inspector wants it.”
Putting the decision to the vote resulted in five votes for and five votes against the application, with Mrs Cole ultimately casting the deciding vote in favour of the development.
The proposals from Donnington New Homes will see a mix of one-, two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes built on the 3.75 hectare site.
Forty per cent of the homes will be affordable.
The plans also include a total of 162 parking spaces and two access points on to Stoney Lane, which would also be widened in an effort to improve safety.
For more reaction and a full report of the meeting pick up a copy of next week’s Newbury Weekly News.