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West Berkshire's Liberal Democrats vow to "fight on" as Sandleford development is given green light by the government

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The Liberal Democrats on West Berkshire Council have vowed to “fight on” and put a stop to a controversial planning application for 1,000 homes in Newbury.

The Government gave the green light to the Sandleford housing development yesterday (Friday), with Minister of state for housing Stuart Andrew MP making the decision on behalf of the secretary of state.

Planning permission for the scheme will now be granted, unless the decision is challenged in the High Court in the next six weeks.

The proposed site at Sandleford
The proposed site at Sandleford

Bloor Homes and Sandleford Homes Partnership appealed against West Berkshire Council refusing its scheme to build the homes off Monks Lane last year.

Responding to the news councillor Tony Vickers, Lib Dem planning spokesman on West Berkshire Council, said: “This comes as no surprise. The die was cast over 12 years ago when the Conservative run local planning authority allocated the site for 2,000 homes.

“This is just the end of the beginning of the process.

1,000 houses could now be built on the site of Watership Down
1,000 houses could now be built on the site of Watership Down

“Liberal Democrats have not given up on being able to stop the worst happening. We expect to take control of West Berkshire Council next May and all that has been decided is that ‘up to 1,000’ homes can be built on the main part of the site, which has direct access to A339 and Monks Lane in the north.

“There is no vehicle access to Andover Road in the west, which is where the main opposition to Sandleford comes from in Wash Common."

Dr Vickers said there were still "numerous planning conditions to be met by the applicants before any work could start.

He added: “Thames Water has to build a new sewage pumping station and upgrade the whole system through Newbury before more than 50 homes can be occupied.

“Nothing except access is agreed so far and I don’t expect any of these conditions to have been met by the time the local elections next May take place. We fight on.”

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