Tue, 30 Jan 2018
PLANS for another 36 homes in Greenham have been given the go-ahead by West Berkshire Council.
The development on land west of New Road, north of Pyle Hill, is the last of four sites on the ‘Greenham Gap’ to be swallowed up for housing, as part of the council’s local plan.
However, a lack of cohesion between the neighbouring sites and the “piecemeal” approach to developing the green space between Newbury and Greenham has attracted criticism from local residents.
As well as the 36 homes, the council has also approved planning permission for 71 homes opposite the former Greenacre Leisure Centre, and a 157-home development spread across two parcels of land north of Pinchington Lane – though none of the sites will be linked via footpaths.
Speaking at the meeting, Water Lane resident Lucy Croft read from a 2012 planning statement by developers and landowners Rivar and David Wilson Homes, which said the council’s local plan for the development of the four parcels of land presented a “unique opportunity” to bring together a series of sites in order to deliver “a comprehensive development scheme”.
She said: “To say now you can’t deliver footpaths – there’s a big swathe in the middle, what is that land going to be?
“Is it just going to sit there? People will walk across that land.”
Ms Croft added: “Why not resolve the land ownership issues and put the footpaths in place so that the land is delivering what was promised in the DPD allocation?”
“None of that is being delivered on the grounds there isn’t a coherent land ownership.”
Council officers, however, said ensuring the developments were linked would prove difficult at this stage because of the number of different landowners involved.
Speaking on behalf of the developer, Steve Smallman – of architect Pro Vision – also said, because the David Wilson Homes development to the west of the site had not provided a footpath in its plans for the 71 homes, there would therefore be no point in Rivar Ltd providing a footpath linking its development to that site as pedestrians would not be able continue through estate to reach Greenham Road.
Concerns over drainage, traffic flows on the local roads, visual impact and impact on the biodiversity were also raised during the consultation.
West Berkshire Council executive member for housing Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) said if residents had been using the open space between the sites for a sufficient number of years, then they may have a right of way to that land, regardless of land ownership.
Agreeing with a proposal to conditionally approve the plans, Mrs Cole said: “This site is an approved site and therefore within our local plan.
“I think it’s regrettable that the master plan didn’t evolve, but we are where we are.”
The application was approved with the matter of public rights of way to be investigated.
The 36-home development will consist of four-bed, three-bed and two-bed homes, with vehicular access on to New Road.
Developer Rivar Ltd has said 14 of the homes will be affordable.