PLANS to build 71 homes opposite the former Greenacre Leisure Centre in Greenham have been approved.
Formal objections were lodged by Newbury Town Council, Greenham Parish Council, the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and more than 20 members of the public.
But these were overruled at a meeting of West Berkshire Council’s western area planning committee last Wednesday.
The meeting heard that the application from David Wilson Homes includes 40-per-cent affordable homes and parking facilities for 189 cars on the site, which has been included in West Berkshire Council’s Housing Site Allocation Development Plan Document (HSA DPD).
Planning officer Michael Butler conceded that when the site, on land on the north side of Pyle Hill, was recommended for development in the HSA DPD, back in 2015, it had been for up to 65 houses.
However, he said: “An additional six dwellings means two more affordable homes, which are in demand.
“Some objectors are concerned about additional traffic.
“We’ve carefully considered all traffic monitoring data and, although there will be an impact, we don’t consider it will be severe.”
Mr Butler added: “The area was part of a designated gap between Newbury and Greenham, but the Government says that designation has gone.”
The council’s tree officer recommended refusal, expressing concerns about the potential impact on the adjacent West Wood.
One objector, Lucy Crofts, addressed the meeting and urged councillors: “You must protect what is left of this green space.”
But senior planning officer Derek Carnegie warned that, if the committee refused the application, he believed the council would lose any appeal and could face a hefty costs bill.
The committee voted four to three in favour of granting the application.
The proposals follow West Berkshire Council’s approval of plans submitted by Rivar for 157 homes to the east of Newbury retail park, between Equine Way and Greenham Road, as the local authority looks to meet its housing targets.