Thu, 16 Feb 2017
A DECISION on whether to allow up to 2,000 homes to be built at Sandleford Park in Newbury has been delayed indefinitely.
West Berkshire Council was due to decide on whether to approve or refuse planning permission for the district’s largest-ever housing development by February 10.
However, on February 10, the council announced the deadline would be extended to ‘allow further discussions’ to take place.
Developer Bloor Homes submitted the plans in December 2015, but Bloor and the council still disagree on a number of key issues, including access roads and funding for schools.
Bloor remains adamant the site can be served by two access roads on to Monks Lane – but the council say only four roads will work.
In a damning response, the council’s highways and transport team said it was “quite ready to refuse the application” if the issues weren’t resolved.
Fears have been raised that delays to the application could jeopardise the council’s chances of meeting its target for building new homes and lead to speculative plans being submitted for other sites in West Berkshire
The council says that planning officers have been discussing the ‘complex applications’ with the developer, but do not have all the information required to make a decision.
The extension was mutually agreed with the applicant.
Speaking about the plans, Hilary Cole, West Berkshire Council’s executive member for planning said: “The site at Sandleford is important and could help us build some of the housing we need in our district.
“As it stands, the application which has been submitted is not acceptable and would be refused.
“We want to give the developers the time they need to submit a proper plan so that we can consider it on its merits.
“To do anything else would waste the effort already put in.
“This is not an usual situation and often with developments of this scale and complexity more time is needed to work through the plans and get to a point where we can make an informed decision.
“I’m confident we will get there and we will decide whether this development can go ahead.”
No definite target date for a decision will be set until progress on the most recent application for 1,000 homes can be assessed.
The separate application was submitted by Bloor to ‘facilitate early delivery’of the site.