Mon, 09 Jul 2018
PLANS for Thatcham’s Lower Way field have been submitted – four years after it was proposed as a ‘preferred’ housing site.
Developer Persimmon Homes has applied to build 97 homes next to the Thatcham Moors Nature Reserve and Nature Discovery Centre.
Of the 97 homes, 40 per cent (39) will be affordable, with a proposed split of 12 one-bed flats, eight two-bed flats, seven two-bed houses, 10 three-bed houses and two four-bed houses.
Seventy per cent of the 39 homes (27) will be affordable rented dwellings, with the remainder proposed as shared ownership.
The market housing is proposed to be split with six two-bed houses, 39 three-bed houses and 13 four-bed.
The site was first put forward in West Berkshire Council’s Development Plan Document (DPD), which identified ‘preferred’ housing sites across the district, in 2014.
The council said that Lower Way, the only site to be selected in Thatcham, was capable of accommodating approximately 85 homes.
Persimmon has stated that it wants to maximise the 4.03-hectare site and the 97 homes average net density of 40 dwellings per hectare.
Overall the density results in the efficient use of the site.
Thousands of people objected to the field being included in the DPD and Conservative councillors were jeered by residents when they approved the document in 2015.
Residents told the Newbury Weekly News at a public exhibition in February that the development would “cause traffic chaos, endanger children’s safety and crucify the Nature Discovery Centre”.
They also raised concerns about flooding and the pressure on local schools and doctors’ surgeries.
The developer is proposing 43 unallocated parking spaces and 174 allocated parking spaces across the site.
A traffic survey, submitted with the plans, says that potential traffic from the development would equate to between one and 1.5 additional vehicular movements per minute along Lower Way during peak hours.
“Such an increase would have an immaterial impact on the operation of the local highway network,” the assessment claimed.
The developer has said that increased school capacity will be funded through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments, but added that “the development may place a greater demand on GP services and is likely to prompt their expansion.”
The Lower Way Action Group, formed to fight the proposals, had been pushing for the council to recognise public rights of way across the site, however only two of the 13 were adopted.
Persimmon said that constraints on the site included protecting and maintaining existing public rights of way, protecting the visual amenity of the Nature Discovery Centre and retaining existing trees and hedgerows.
A decision is expected to be made by West Berkshire Council by Friday, September 21.
You can view and comment on the planning application by entering the reference number 18/00964/FULEXT into the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website.