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Flats on 'blot' site rejected

Plan to build 17 apartments on site previously earmarked for office block is turned down

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

Flats on 'blot' site rejected

PLANS for 17 new apartments in Tadley have been refused.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee turned down proposals for the flats on land adjacent to Aldermaston Road and Boundary Place at a meeting last week.

The proposed development was for two one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom apartments, associated car parking and landscaping.  

Planning permission for an office block on the site had previously been granted as part of a wider development plan known as Boundary Hall.

A design and access statement, produced by Bradplan and submitted with the application, stated: “However, since that time the application site, which was to host the commercial element of the scheme, has been continually marketed, albeit without success, and has remained undeveloped, with the exception of a number of car parking spaces that were intended to serve the property.”

The committee refused the new application for the 17 homes at the meeting on February 6, primarily due to the site being situated within the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) surrounding the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, which planners said could affect the off-site emergency planning arrangements. 

Additionally, it was not thought to provide affordable housing or relevant community infrastructure to offset the impact of the development.

Councillor Paul Miller said: “The AWE situation counts for the reason for refusal number one.

“I’ve read the correspondence from the applicant and if we don’t have a legal agreement and there’s no possibility of a legal agreement, this council will be open to vulnerability. 

“This is what S106 agreements are all about.

“It provides assurance and protection for developers and the council when we give these permissions.

“I have yet to see anything that, at the moment, an S106 cannot be achieved.

“Without the S106 I certainly cannot support this application, primarily because of the lack of a legal agreement.

“The willingness of the applicant I fully appreciate and don’t doubt their intentions to provide 100 per cent affordable housing, but it has got to be done within a legal framework.”

Robert Tate, ward member for Baughurst and Tadley North, spoke in support of the application.

He said: “You know where it is positioned. It’s on the main road coming into Tadley and is in extent a planning application for which is effectively a dead site.

“The applicant here provides an opportunity for the reconstruction of that site to provide housing, and that housing is required in the area and housing also includes an element if not complete, but certainly an element already of affordable housing.

“Clearly the documentary evidence that is being discussed will be discussed in more detail, but fundamentally it is something for me, which is worth fighting for to ensure that the site is treated on its own merits and its own benefits to the community. 

“I appreciate there are precedents for other sites, but given that there is already planning application and there has been  development of that site or around it in the past, I hope that in doing this we can produce a way forward which allows that site to be used to the benefit of the community to provide housing and that is a test which we want to try to achieve with this.” 

Councillor Michael Bound added: “I believe Tadley needs housing.

“It needs one or two bedrooms and this is one or two bedrooms.

“And I am satisfied with the applicants in the terms of it becoming affordable.”

Councillor David Leeks said: “Whatever happens, I’d like this redundant mess cleared up.

“For years and years we have had this fencing around the site.

“And whatever happens, I would like to see this cleared up and to get rid of that terrible fencing. It’s a blot.”

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