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Residents raise objection to Hermitage homes plan

Claims that proposed 40-house development would cause 'total disruption'

Chris Ord


01635 886639

Residents raise objection to Hermitage homes plan

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 40 homes in a West Berkshire village have drawn criticism from local residents and councillors.

The land behind the White Horse pub in Hermitage has been earmarked for development by West Berkshire Council.

However, the development plan recommends just 15 homes for the three-acre plot.

As a result, the application has so far attracted 11 letters of objection from residents, as well as an objection from Hermitage Parish Council.

Cala Homes Ltd is seeking permission to build the two-, three- and four-bedroom homes on the greenfield site off Charlotte Close.

The developer says the new estate would create a “high-quality sustainable housing development, which can accommodate new homes with associated infrastructure and green space”.

Sixteen of the homes will be affordable, according to the application.

A total of 70 parking spaces will be provided for the site, which will be accessed via Charlotte Close.

However, some residents have claimed that 40 new homes would put undue pressure on the village’s facilities and infrastructure, with one objector stating the plans would cause “total disruption”.

In a consultation response, Hermitage Parish Council levelled further criticism at the developer for apparently ignoring comments made during a consultation meeting with local residents earlier in the year.

In the letter, parish clerk Nicky Pierce writes: “[The parish council] expressed extreme disappointment at the little notice that had been given to the comments made by residents and councillor at the meeting with Cala executives.”

The letter goes on to criticise the “vast increase in dwellings”, which it says is far beyond the 15 dwellings adopted by West Berkshire Council in the Housing Development Plan Document, and the lack of play areas or green space in the development.

The parish council also criticises the lack of proposed visitor parking, as well as plans to build two three-storey homes in the development, which it states is in “direct contravention” of the Hermitage Village Design Statement guidelines restricting domestic dwellings to two storeys.

Agent Strutt and Parker, acting on behalf of Cala Homes Ltd, states in the application that suggestions and concerns raised by residents at the meeting were reviewed by the team and resulted in the layout being amended to that now submitted.

A spokesman for Cala Homes Ltd added: "CALA Homes held positive pre-application discussions with officers at West Berkshire Council, and presented plans for Hermitage at a meeting held with the parish council and local residents.

"Following feedback received, the amount of homes proposed for the site was reduced down from 46 to 40. 

"The site is allocated for housing in the recently adopted Housing Site Allocations DPD, however the original number of houses envisaged for the site was an estimate based on an incorrect smaller site area.

"Officers, and the Inspector who examined the Housing Sites Allocations DPD, acknowledged that the final number of homes proposed for the site would be guided by detailed assessments and not solely by the original estimate. Before submitting the proposed scheme, CALA Homes undertook a number of these detailed studies, including a full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, which demonstrated that the site is capable of accommodating 40 dwellings."

"We believe we have designed a high quality development that makes best use of this site, and will provide much needed new market and affordable homes, without harming the protected landscape or local wildlife. We look forward to continuing to work with the Council as the application progresses through to determination."

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