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Burghfield resident's fight to save site from development, again

District and parish councils, and residents, are united in their opposition

Burghfield resident's fight to save site from development, again

BURGHFIELD residents are fighting to save a greenfield site from housing less than a year after a developer was defeated at appeal.

Developer Gladman is appealing against West Berkshire Council turning down its plans to build up to 64 homes on land north of Grove Copse and south of Mans Hill in Burghfield Common.

Up to 40 per cent of the homes would be affordable and the site would be accessed via Mans Hill.

The plans also include public open space and a children’s play area, along with flood mitigation.

The application came just months after residents celebrated a planning inspector throwing out the Cheshire-based developer’s plans for 210 homes on the site at appeal.

Residents thought the fight was over, but the developer came back with an application to build 70 homes, which it later downsized to 64, but that too was rejected.

Gladman, which says it prides itself on winning planning permission, has appealed the 64-home scheme.

A statement on the company’s website says: “At Gladman we are passionate about winning and invest significant expenditure on robust evidence, research, specialist studies and investigations because we are confident we can achieve a planning win for our landowners.”

Now it is back for a second stab at success, but is up against hundreds of objections from residents.

An inquiry into whether homes will be built on the site began at West Berkshire Council’s offices in Market Street on Tuesday.

Resident major John Steeds (Rtd) told the Newbury Weekly News: “The site is totally wrong.

“It was turned down twice and there are better sites and still the developer wants to go ahead.

“It’s ludicrous that they are allowed to do it.

“They are trying to ruin the village of Burghfield. It’s clearly for money and nothing else.

“It’s against the wishes of West Berkshire Council, Burghfield Parish Council and us residents and they are the only people for it and will benefit from it.

“We are determined that it will be turned down.”

Resident Sharron Nicholls said that the reduced number of homes made no difference to issues such as ecology, flooding and traffic using the narrow road.

She added that she had no doubt that more homes would be built if the plans were approved.

District and parish councillor Carole Jackson-Doerge (Con) said she didn’t want to see the green site lost. 

She said: “We are a planning-led authority and we spent a lot of time looking at housing across the district.

“It’s just not right at a time when government are devolving more down to local parishes that people feel they can go against decisions that are made locally, because they are the people that live here.”

Parish councillor and former Liberal Democrat district councillor Royce Longton said that he didn’t want to see the parish council’s neighbourhood development plan “usurped” by a development coming in before the process was complete.

When the council turned down the plans it said that it could demonstrate a five-year housing supply and that it had an up-to-date development plan.

The developer is challenging West Berkshire Council’s planning strategy and argues that the presence of a five-year plan does not represent an up-to-date strategy.

Gladman added that its new scheme is substantially and materially different from the 210-home scheme.

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