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Planners prepare to allow major development at rail station

Hungerford 'gateway' development recommended for approval

Planners prepare to allow major development at rail station

Plans to regenerate the ‘gateway’ to Hungerford with a 30-home development at the railway station was expected to be approved by councillors last night (Wednesday).

The plans, for one- and two-bedroom flats, include a coffee shop, parking and landscaping.

A similar application was rejected last summer.

However, a planning officer’s report – which was due to be debated at last night’s West Berkshire Council western area planning committee – recommended approval of the new scheme.

In addition, Hungerford Town Council was due to enthusiastically support the proposals at the meeting.

A design and access statement accompanying the new application states: “The design looks to create a gateway into Hungerford and provide a real sense of arrival for visitors as they arrive.” 

The planning officer’s report noted: “Clearly the nature of the area will change considerably should the scheme proceed.

“The site has been marketed for some considerable time for employment purposes to no avail... planning authorities should avoid the long-term protection of employment sites where there is little prospect of a site being used for that purpose.”

It added: “On balance, given the Government’s continuing advocacy of pressing for more homes, especially in sustainable locations, the application is [recommended for approval].

“This officer recommendation... does not relate to other employment areas in the town such as Charnham Park, which continue to serve a very valuable economic function.”

The report acknowledges district council highways officers’ concerns regarding the loss of the RCP Parking Ltd temporary car park, but adds: “ this car park is temporary, and is private so can be closed at any time, it is clearly difficult to object to its loss.

“While it may be difficult to object to the loss of the temporary car park, highways officers are now on balance satisfied that the net loss of just three car parking spaces from the public Network Rail car park in the yard will not be so harmful as to merit a recommendation of refusal.

“This is clearly different from the past rejected scheme, which proposed the loss of all 21 spaces, which was not acceptable.”

The application was ‘called in’ to the committee by district councillors Paul Hewer and James Podger (both Con, Hungerford).

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