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Homes England unveils plans for former Pirbright Institute site in Compton

Application for 250 homes submitted

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters

charlie.masters@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

07964 444701

Homes England unveils plans for 250-home Compton development

Homes England has submitted plans to build 250 homes on a former animal research centre in Compton.

The proposals were received by West Berkshire Council on June 15 and will now be considered by planners.

The scheme would represent a significant expansion of the village.

According to some estimates, it would increase the size of Compton by up to 40 per cent.

The new homes would be built on the site formerly owned by the Pirbright Institute.

It is situated within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Pirbright Institute, formerly the Institute for Animal Health, in Surrey, researches into animal disease and until 2015 its Compton site had been a major employer in the village.

It has since shifted its Compton operations to Surrey and relocated some staff.

In its planning statement, AECOM – Homes England's agent – said: "The aim is to create a high-quality, residential environment which responds well to its local context whilst improving site accessibility and inclusivity for all.

"The proposed development seeks to improve the environmental quality of this previously developed site and bring it back into function as a sustainable and attractive neighbourhood within the village, whilst respecting its landscaped setting and character.

"The size of the site will allow for a range of different housing types and tenures to be provided.

"It is envisioned that the majority of the housing would be family homes with gardens, as per the existing Compton village context.

"The precise mix of housing type and tenure is not specified in detail at this stage.

"One parcel is designated for employment uses."

Even before they were formally submitted to the council, Homes England's plans were controversial locally.

Many Compton villagers had anticipated a substantially smaller development.

A series of consultations has been held with villagers.

The parish council's support for the scheme expressed last September was conditional: "The redevelopment of the institute for a residential-led mixed-use scheme will be supported … provided that the quantum of residential development remains for 140 dwellings and any greater number of dwellings demonstrates it will not harm the character of the village and the community.”

In a statement this week the council said its decision to approve or reject the application is pending.

Clerk Sarah Marshman said: "Compton Parish Council will be considering their response to this planning application at a meeting currently being arranged.

"The council is therefore unable to make comments regarding this planning application until the response has been agreed by the council at their meeting."

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