A PLANNING application to build 40 homes behind the White Horse pub in Hermitage – on land that West Berkshire Council had earmarked for a development of just 15 dwellings – has so far have received 83 objections.
The vast majority of the letters of representation are lodging strong objections to the plans.
Residents and local parish councils have said that the development would constitute an overdevelopment for the small village, putting undue stress and strain on local infrastructure.
However, developer Cala Homes Ltd said the new estate would create a “high-quality sustainable housing development, which can accommodate new homes, with associated infrastructure and green space”.
Many residents have taken the opportunity to express their opinions on the development, including Mary Pinder, who wrote: “We do NOT have the infrastructure in Hermitage for any more housing, definitely NOT 40 houses.”
Another resident, Matt Chambers, said it was important that the character of the village be retained.
He added: “Forty new houses shoehorned into a small space is too many. This is just about the only open green space left in Hermitage.”
In May this year West Berkshire Council agreed its forward plan for future development in the district (known as the Housing Site Allocation Development Plan Document, or HASDPD), with councillors, agreeing that the space would be sufficient for 15 dwellings.
Referencing this, one objector said: “Overall, it is extremely disappointing that the 15 dwellings adopted and approved by West Berkshire District Council in a DPD as recently as May 9 has now become a proposal for 40 dwellings in the Cala planning application.”
One objector, Peter Eggins, acknowledged that councils were under pressure to develop more housing, but pointed out that previous housing developments in Hermitage had already led to a “huge increase in traffic flow on the B4009 through what used to be thought of as a pleasant village”.
Objections from Hermitage Parish Council, Chieveley Par-ish Council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have also been lodged.
The development, if given the go-ahead, would go some way to helping West Berkshire Council hit its housing targets and would provide 16 affordable homes for the area.
A total of 70 parking spaces would be provided for the site, which would be accessed via Charlotte Close.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News earlier this year, a spokesman for Cala Homes Ltd said: “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.”
West Berkshire Council will make a decision on the plans in the coming months.