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Sandleford plans back on the table

Two developers submit amended proposals to address council’s reasons for previous refusal

Sandleford plans back on the table

TWO fresh applications for Sandleford Park have been resubmitted, just months after West Berkshire Council rejected plans for the 2,000-home development.

Bloor Homes has applied to build up to 1,000 homes at Sandleford Park, along with an 80-bed extra care facility, a new two-form entry primary school, a local centre, a country park and land for Park House School to expand on to. 

A separate application for Sandleford Park West, submitted by Donnington New Homes, seeks to build up to 500 new homes, a one-form entry primary school with land for its expansion, replacement and/or expansion land for Park House School, extra care units and a facility to be used by local charity Swings & Smiles.

Forty per cent of the homes across both schemes will be affordable. 

Monks Lane will serve as the main access route to Sandleford Park via a new roundabout at the western end and a priority T-Junction at the eastern access point. 

Warren Road is proposed as Sandleford Park West’s main access point, with emergency access via Kendrick Road.

The applicants add that Warren Road will need to be widened to a carriageway width of six metres, on to land controlled by Park House School.

Two separate applications were refused by West Berkshire Council last year because of a lack of detail for such a large development. 

The council and the two developers were also caught in an impasse over infrastructure, including access and education, and that uncertainty remained as to how Sandleford’s impact would be managed. 

Say No to Sandleford campaigner Peter Norman said that he wasn’t expecting the new applications to be submitted so soon.

He added: “But that doesn’t alter the fact of the matter, which is that it’s come in far too late and we have lost green land on north Newbury as a result.

“There are no congratulations for anyone involved here.

“I hope it will prevent further green space from being consumed, but I doubt it.

“I’m still very much of the view that this is in the wrong place and will put an enormous strain on Newbury’s infrastructure.” 

When the plans were refused, the council’s executive for planning, Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley), said she was saddened that the landowners “had not delivered on assurances they gave us that they would work together on one cohesive plan which benefits our community”.

She said: “They have failed to demonstrate that they can work together and have failed to put forward a comprehensive plan.”

The council has insisted that one application encompassing the entire site be submitted, in order to avoid piecemeal development. 

However, the two developers have now signed a memorandum of understanding setting out their “commitment to work collaboratively together”.

Documents submitted with the applications state that, “while the applicants are submitting separate applications for the parts of the site under their respective control, these together will deliver the holistically- planned development sought by the local planning authority”.

Addressing the council’s refusal of the previous schemes, the developers have amended their proposals to address the council’s reasons for refusing the scheme. 

These include a link road from the Household Waste Recycling Centre to the proposed new Highwood School south of Newbury College.

A financial contribution towards a link road to the college and A339 access is also included. 

New playing pitches to mitigate for the loss of land at Newbury Rugby Club, along with a financial contribution towards pitch improvements, have also been added. 

Sandleford was accepted as a strategic housing site in 2012 and the first homes on the site were envisaged to be completed by 2018. 

But setbacks in planning now mean that phase one of developing Sandleford Park West will commence in spring 2020, if all goes to plan. 

The delays have also led to plans to build 400 homes in Donnington, an alternative site to Sandleford, being won on appeal.

The council has also taken the “pragmatic” approach of removing the site from its five-year land supply of housing. 

View and comment on the Sandleford Park plans by entering 18/00764/OUTMAJ into West Berkshire Council’s planning website.

Enter 18/00828/OUTMAJ to view Sandleford Park West. 

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