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Thatcham councillor calls planning laws 'insufficient' as Lawrences Lane court case is adjourned




A court hearing was held virtually on Monday (September 27) to determine the future of the land at the end of Lawrences Lane.

The case was heard before Mr Justice Cavanagh, before it was adjourned to December 8.

According to West Berkshire Council, the defendants were seeking to not be penalised because they failed to comply with the directions issued to them in court in August.

Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.
Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.

It said that the defendants also indicated that they do not accept the evidence of the council and assert that they have been in residence since August 13.

The injunction remains in place but has been modified slightly in relation to the action on the site.

No more development is allowed to occur, specifically in regards to the number of caravans on the site - none can be added, swapped or taken off the land.

Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.
Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.

There also cannot be any more hard-standing or connections made, nor is anyone else permitted to reside on the site.

However, it is currently uncertain whether those already on site are residing or simply visiting during the day.

Ward councillor Jeremy Cottam (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said: “I think the government planning laws are insufficient to deal with this, and they are letting people get away with it.

“The government need to come in with stricter policies to stop this happening.

Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.
Lawrence Lane Development Thatcham. Picture by: Pete Connolly.

“This is not the first time that it has happened, it is wrong and needs to be rectified.”

Lee Dillon, (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said: “I am disappointed for residents that a judge hasn’t been able to give a final verdict.

“I am confident in our planning process at West Berkshire Council.”

However Mr Cottam is "concerned" about the future of Lawrences Lane.

He added: “If they are allowed to do this, it hugely damages the planning procedure.

“It has caused a lot of anguish, a lot of unhappiness, and even fear amongst local residents.

“It is quite scary, it seems that if they can do this here they can do it anywhere in the district, again and again.

"I am concerned unless the council do something urgently to resolve this situation much more quickly."

The site has previously undergone planning applications for a change of use from a self-service livery stable to a single dwelling and another to form a live/work unit. Both applications were rejected.

Neighbouring residents have previously raised concerns to the police and local authorities over noise disturbances and anti-social behaviour from the on-site workers.

However, Mr Cottam said that there was “some light at the end of the tunnel” with the next hearing taking place in December.

If you see any other activity on the site you can reach West Berkshire Council at planningenforcement@westberks.gov.uk



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