AN inquiry to determine whether 85 homes will be built a stone’s throw away from the 2,000-home development at Sandleford Park is under way.
Cheshire-based Gladman Developments is appealing against West Berkshire Council’s refusal of its plans to build south of Garden Close Lane.
The council turned the scheme down because it said the homes were not in its local plan and that it could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing.
It also said that the homes would have “a serious and detrimental impact on the rural setting to the south of Newbury”. Furthermore, it would urbanise the area between Wash Common and Enborne Row, effectively merging the two.
Gladman has challenged the council’s housing supply and said that the only reason standing in its way is the alleged harm to landscape.
Counsel for Gladman, Jonathan Easton, said that the landscape was not a valued one and was an “entirely logical and suitable location for development”.
He said the development would deliver a number of benefits, most notably “the construction of affordable homes in an area where many homes are out of reach for the less well-off and where the council has consistently been missing its targets”.
In response, Emmaline Lambert, representing the council, said that the council could demonstrate a five-year housing supply.
She said that a recent decision against Gladman over a scheme at Man’s Hill in Burghfield Common had found the council’s need of housing assessment to be “authorititive and convincing”.
Mrs Lambert said that the site was in a valued landscape and that “housing for the sake of housing cannot override development plan policies”.
She said that planning inspector Jonathan Manning “need not be troubled” by the decision to approve 400 homes at north Newbury on appeal.
The council had accepted it had a shortfall of 203 in its five-year supply, but since then, additional sites were able to be included in the figures.
In addition, the council said it had reviewed sites that it thought were not deliverable at that point in time.
The inquiry will conclude next Thursday and Mr Manning’s decision will be issued later this year.