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Go ahead for back garden development in Thatcham

Thatcham residents rally to oppose flats plan

RESIDENTS in two Thatcham streets have been left dismayed, following a developer being granted permission for back garden development.

GAL Promotions can now go ahead with its plans to build a pair of semi-detached houses on land to the rear of 258 and 260 Benham Hill.

The developer’s success, at the third attempt, came after it challenged West Berkshire Council’s failure to make a decision on the plans on time. 

Access to the properties will come from Stroller Close – where residents had raised objections – along with those from neighbouring Winston Way.

Residents had launched a petition against the scheme, which they said would have a detrimental impact on their quality of life. 

Although the council did not determine the scheme, it had reasoned that the development would harm the character and appearance of the area. 

In his ruling on the plans, planning inspector Patrick Whelan said that this would not be the case. 

He said that the single-storey buildings would not represent overdevelopment and not be at odds with the character of the area. 

Residents had said that their already congested cul-de-sac would not be able to cope with the extra traffic and that children’s safety would be put at risk.

But Mr Whelan said that the development would provide sufficient parking and there was “no substantive evidence that there would be a harmful effect on highway safety or the flow of traffic”.

The council had also noted that it could demonstrate a five-year supply of housing.

However, Mr Whelan said that this supply was not the upper limit.   

GAL had previously withdrawn two applications, one for the two houses and another for four apartments.

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