Wed, 30 Oct 2019
A DEVELOPER is hoping to make it third time lucky in its bid to build more than 200 homes in Thatcham.
Croudace has not given up on its plan to construct the new houses at Henwick Park, on land between Bowling Green Road and Cold Ash Hill.
Having previously had planning permission twice refused, the developer is pressing to get the site put into West Berkshire Council’s strategic housing plan.
Croudace first submitted a planning proposals for 265 homes in 2015.
That was turned down and the developer came back with a scaled-down scheme for 225 homes in 2016.
That too was refused.
At the same time, developer A2Dominion’s plans for 495 homes at Siege Cross, west of Floral Way and north of the A4, were also rejected by the council.
The two developers both appealed the council’s refusal.
The Planning Inspectorate had recommended both schemes for approval, owing to the council being unable to demonstrate an up-to-date housing supply.
But the then Secretary of State for communities and local government Sajid Javid overuled that recommendation, saying that the situation had changed since the appeals were heard and that the council now had a five-year housing supply.
With the council currently in the process of updating its local plan, developers and landowners have been asked to submit new developments for the district.
And at a meeting last week, planning agents representing Croudace Strategic provided an update to town councillors.
David McFarlane, representing Croudace consultant SP Broadway, said that the group was hoping to get an allocation in the local plan for about 225 homes.
He said that if Henwick Park was allocated, Croudace would hold a full public consultation between the allocation and a planning application being submitted.
Nexus Planning associate director Steven Doel said: “Our aim here is to secure an application in the emerging local plan. We believe this is a scheme that can deliver in entirety in the first five years.”
Mr Doel said that Croudace was carrying out further survey work addressing ecology, traffic and flooding and that the “housing numbers are the same but the layout is slightly different”.
The district council said that Thatcham, which had the 800-home Kennet Heath development delivered in the early 2000s, needed a ‘period of consolidation’.
However Mr Doel told town councillors that a much-enlarged Siege Cross development was on the horizon.
“When you look at Thatcham there are really limited opportunities,” he said. “The message I got from the council is it’s acceptable and the period of consolidation has stopped and Thatcham is looked at again for growth.
“If you are looking at a scheme that’s acceptable in a whole lot of areas, there aren’t many better opportunities than us, I would argue.”
Proposed access to Henwick Park would have come from a junction on Bowling Green Road and a new entrance at the Heath Lane roundabout.
Mode Transport Planning associate director Laura Fitzgerald said that Croudace had received a lot of feedback concerned with congestion.
But she added that new traffic surveys would need to be carried out.
This was, she said, because: “Last time Siege Cross was bubbling away in the background.
“I think we had Siege Cross mitigation packages included.
“When we look at this now we don’t know what’s going on in that sense.
“What’s changed since 2015 is any mitigation for this would need to come forward on its own merits.”
She said that the developers were looking to extend local bus services to Henwick Park.
Tim Wood from Stuart Michael Associates said that flood defences being proposed with the housing would “fill in the missing link” between Tull Way and Cold Ash Hill.