Sun, 20 May 2018
NEWBURY Town Council has voted to object to two new amended proposals for Sandleford Park on the grounds of insufficient information.
Chairman of the council’s planning and highways committee Anthony Pick concluded it would be difficult to comment on the applications without additional surveys and assessments being carried out.
The town council held a special meeting on Monday night to respond to the latest planning applications, which were resubmitted by Bloor Homes and Donnington New Homes last month.
Some 20 residents were present at the one-off event, several of whom made separate, five-minute presentations to object to the proposals.
They were joined by appellants Owen Jones from Bloor Homes and Jeremy Gardiner and Mark Norgate from Donnington New Homes.
Bloor Homes has applied to build up to 1,000 homes at Sandleford Park, along with an 80-bed extra care facility, a new two-form entry primary school, local centre, country park and land for Park House School to expand.
A separate application for Sandleford Park West, submitted by Donnington New Homes, seeks to build up to 500 new properties, a one-form entry primary school with land for its expansion, replacement and/or expansion land for Park House School, extra care units and a facility to be used by charity Swings & Smiles.
Residents’ presentations sparked old debates over road access through the site’s westerly entrance from Warren Road, the direction of traffic flow from construction, the strategic location of homes south-west of the site and the potential overuse of Andover Road.
Tony Stretton (Con, Clay Hill), who abstained from objecting to the motion due to lack of information, heavily criticised Donnington Homes’ endeavour to access the south-western part of the site near Park House School from the north-facing Monks Lane.
“There’s about as much chance of Donnington Homes using the Monks Lane entrance access to get to their site as there is to me winning the lottery,” said Mr Stretton, who claimed a multitude of roads through the site would need to be built.
He said: “With the investment you’ll have to make to allow Donnington to get there, it’s just not going to happen.”
Resident Brian Dickerson also expressed his concerns over the spillage of traffic onto Garden Close Lane, which he claimed would be “the beginning of the end for south Newbury”.
Mr Gardiner reiterated how Donnington Homes had the legal right to access Kendrick Road and Garden Close Lane through existing deeds inherited from the site, before disputing Mr Dickerson’s accusation that the development is in the wrong place.
“This is the completely wrong forum to make that statement,” said Mr Gardiner.
Concerns were also raised over increased pedestrian hotspots arising from the council-built Highwood Copse Primary School, along with the other two scheduled for the site – all of which could be potential secondary feeder schools for Park House.
Mr Norgate said it was “almost unreasonable” of West Berkshire Council to ask the town council to comment at this stage.
He said: “Asking you to form your opinion and stick by it, when there is more evidence and data coming forward as part of the application process, is unfair on you.”
Mr Pick simply responded: “It’s not unfair, it’s our job.”
Summarising, Mr Pick, who at times struggled to limit impassioned residents’ debate, expressed great concern over the lack of any parking-related plan for Falkland Road surgery along the expansion boundary.
He also called for clearer plans relating to the site’s maintenance and sewer problems, as well as clearer strategies for maintenance of the whole site of the county park.