Wed, 30 Aug 2017
NEWBURY town councillors have raised no objection to plans to build 118 homes to the north of Newbury, despite concerns being raised over the archaeological significance of the area.
Developer Sir Richard Sutton Ltd is applying for planning permission for the housing estate between the A34, Bath Road and Lambourn Road in Speen.
However, at a meeting on Monday, councillors pointed out the land – part of the Benham Estate – lies in the area in which the Second Battle of Newbury was fought in 1644 during the English Civil War.
Adrian Edwards (Con, Falkland) raised concerns over the possibility of turning a historic battlefield into a housing estate, asking: “Are we going to completely build over the site of the Second Battle of Newbury?”
Committee chairman Anthony Pick said the site had not been registered as an official battle site by Historic England, however, he agreed that a full archaeological survey should be carried out.
West Berkshire Council has earmarked the site for development in the local housing development document (DPD), recommending that up to 100 homes could be built there.
If approved, the site would be split into two estates.
The southern site would consist of 104 homes with a new access created from Bath Road, while the northern site of 14 homes would be accessed via Lambourn Road.
A separate application has been submitted for each site and in total, 40 per cent of the homes would be affordable.
Proposing a motion of no objection to the plans, Jeanette Clifford (Con, Northcroft) told the committee: “It’s in the DPD.
“To me, I have walked over those fields, and I know it’s a lovely space, but lovelier still is to see homes provided.
“We agreed that this would be a good site for these homes and it seems to me that the applicant has put in a great deal of work.
“I can’t see that the archaeological potential would be enough to negate this development.”
Concerns were also raised over access into the site from Bath Road.
“Elizabeth O’Keeffe (Lib Dem, Victoria) said “If you’re coming from the Hungerford area it’s on a bend, it’s on a slope.
“I just think it’s a dangerous entrance for quite a large amount of traffic.”
Councillors ultimately voted no objection to the scheme.
However, they recommended that a full archaeological assessment is carried out and a controlled junction is installed on the access in Bath Road.
The second Battle of Newbury took place on October 27, 1644, and is known to have been fought across the area between Donnington and Speen.
The battle was fought close to the site of the First Battle of Newbury, which took place in late September the previous year.
The Parliamentarians inflicted a tactical defeat on the armies of King Charles, but it is widely accepted that there was no clear victor.