Sun, 10 Feb 2019
A CAMPAIGN to stop homes being built on Tilehurst’s green boundary continues following a fresh housing application being submitted.
U+I plc has applied to build 265 homes on Pincents Hill, behind the Berkshire Retail Park which houses Sainsbury’s and IKEA.
Following public exhibitions held last year, the developer says it has responded to objectors’ concerns and included a healthcare hub and public park.
The application follows bids to build 750 homes and commercial units on the site in 2009, which was rejected following a campaign by the Save Calcot Action Group and local residents.
In 2014, the site was put forward for inclusion as a preferred housing site in West Berkshire Council’s Housing Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD).
Agents suggested that the site could accommodate up to 300 homes.
But again, with the support of local residents and councillors, Pincents Hill was not included in the DPD.
However, a fresh attempt was made to consider development on Pincents Hill by the site’s owner, U+I plc, which along with its advisor, TOWN, held a series of public exhibitions to explain its proposals for development on the site.
The application for 265 homes, of which 106 (40 per cent) will be affordable, includes a 4,800 sq ft healthcare hub – which the developer said it included in response to the public consultation – with seven hectares of land for community use as a public park.
The developer added that the new park will be owned and managed by a local or charitable body and legally protected from future development, ensuring that it remains a public amenity in perpetuity.
In addition, more than £1m will be made available to improve local infrastructure through the Community Infrastructure Levy.
TOWN director Jonny Anstead said: “There are many people who want the chance to be able to invest in their own home, but who are unable to do so because of the high cost of property.
“Often they are unable to afford a home in the place where they grew up and have to move away from their friends and family.
“Our scheme will help people in this position and offer them a chance to invest in a community with fantastic new facilities.”
Reading West MP Alok Sharma launched a residents’ survey last October to gauge local reaction to the plans.
The survey was delivered to homes in the Pincents Hill area and to date has received more than 700 responses.
The majority of people who responded said they did not want to see the site developed due to concerns about the pressure it would put on local public services such as schools, doctors’ surgeries, roads and the loss of public green space.
But last month, U+I plc and TOWN submitted an application to build 265 homes, along with proposals for a mixed use building which could be used to provide a community healthcare hub.
Mr Sharma said: “I am delighted that so many local residents have taken the trouble to complete and return my survey about development on the Pincents Hill site.
“This just goes to show how much local people care about this site.
“The results of my survey clearly demonstrate that a very large majority of residents continue to object to any building on this valued green space.”
Residents can comment on the application by visiting the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website and using the reference number 19/00113/ OUTMAJ, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Head of Development and Planning at Planning Policy, Planning and Countryside, West Berkshire Council, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD.
The deadline for comments to be received is Monday next week.