Wed, 15 Jan 2020
A SCHEME to build 33 affordable homes near Thatcham station has been given the go-ahead.
Sovereign Housing will build the homes at Crown Yard, north of The Swan pub, and 179, 181 and 183 Station Road.
Plans to build the properties on the site, formerly home to several local businesses, were first approved in 2017, but the scheme did not include any affordable housing.
Sovereign’s purchase of the site was assisted through a grant allocation of £111m from Homes England, which it had to spend on homes which would otherwise be constructed and sold on the open housing market.
West Berkshire Council approved the reserved matters application, which covers the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development, last month.
The development comprises three one-bed apartments, 21 two-bed maisonettes, four two-bed houses, four three-bed houses and one four-bed house.
The council said that: “Overall the scheme delivers a good-quality housing development which will meet the needs of future occupiers in terms of privacy, amenity space, parking and quality of the design of the buildings.”
Planning documents said that 1,090 households had identified a preference for affordable accommodation in Thatcham.
They added there was “a clear and pressing need for the provision of new affordable housing” in the town.
Access to the homes is proposed off Station Road, as well as 59 parking spaces (55 for residents and four for visitors).
A transport assessment states that the flats will generate less traffic than the industrial estate, meaning the material traffic impact would be negligible to positive and no mitigation measures are proposed.
And despite a shortfall in parking spaces the council said it would be difficult to object to the scheme and sustain it at appeal given the sustainable location and the extent of the shortfall.
The council added that details of electric charging points, that include a 22kw charger provided for at least one in 10 spaces, and cycle storage could be secured by condition.
Approving the scheme the council said: “The proposal provides for a high quality residential scheme which will deliver 100 per cent affordable housing.
“The proposal provides for a shortfall of seven parking spaces across the site. However, given the sustainable location of the site, the proximity to Thatcham train station and bus stops, the extent of the shortfall and the benefits of the scheme delivering an additional 33 affordable homes above that secured under the outline consent, it is considered that on balance the benefits of the scheme outweigh the harm of the parking shortfall.”
Sovereign regional head of development, Jenny Grote, said: "Sovereign has ambitious development plans and we’re committed to buying land and taking control of our developments like this one at Crown Yard in Thatcham.
"We hope to start work on the site around May 2020 and it should take between 12 and 18 months to complete, bringing 33 new quality affordable homes to the local area for rent and shared ownership".