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Major planning applications for West Berkshire up for debate

Plans for 157 homes in Greenham, 325 in Theale and Padworth tip hours up tonight

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Three major planning applications that will impact across West Berkshire will go before councillors tonight (Wednesday). 

The narrow “green gap” between Newbury and Greenham could be about to get even narrower as council officers have recommended plans to build more than 150 homes on land off Pinchington Lane be given the go-ahead.

The controversial application, if approved, would see a total of 157 homes built across the vacant site to the east of Newbury Retail Park.

In a report to tonight's committee council officers say the new homes may bring up to £6m to the local economy each year when the salaries of those in the housing are taken into account.

The officer also praises the social aspects of the development in terms of the affordable homes, and the provision of the additional public open space and play area.

“These are all considered to be positive,” the officer concludes.

However, the report goes on: “It is the environmental aspects which are not so clear cut.

“On the one hand, there will inevitably be some visual and landscape character impact by virtue of the loss of the open area noted, leading to some diminution and so harm to that landscape.

“There will also be a degree of traffic impact in what is already a relatively congested area at peak periods.”

Also tonight, plans that would allow West Berkshire residents to dump their rubbish in Padworth are set to be given the green light.

Veolia has submitted the application and has also applied to extend the opening hours at the Padworth Recycling Centre from 8am until 6pm.

The company said that, while the number of the visits to the site would increase, the figure would fall well below those anticipated when it opened in 2011.

The application has been submitted after ‘waste wars’ broke out between West Berkshire, Reading and Hampshire councils.

Residents in the east of the district were banned from using the Smallmead tip in Reading after West Berkshire Council withdrew its funding to the cross-local authority partnership Re3, leaving residents with a round trip of up to a 30 miles to use the tip in Newtown Road, Newbury.

The fallout then spread to Hampshire residents, who were banned from West Berkshire tips, and permits were issued to West Berkshire residents.

Calling the situation “less than desirable in sustainability terms”, West Berkshire Council has recommended that both of Veolia’s plans be approved.

And plans to build 325 homes in Theale are going before councillors, even though the decision is now out of their hands. 

Prolonged negotiations over Central Corporation Securities Ltd application for 325 homes at Lakside led to the council running out of time to determine the scheme.

The developers have since appealed the lack of a decision with the planning inspectorate now set to rule on the application.

Nevertheless the application, along with one for 25 homes at north lakeside submitted by the same developer, will go before councillors to determine what stance the council should take at the appeal.

Council officers had recommended that the scheme be approved and that the council should adopt a supportive stance.

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