Sun, 18 Oct 2020
WEST Berkshire Council needs to admit that “things have changed” and should look again at developing on Sandleford Park after it refused plans for more than 1,000 homes on the site once again.
Bloor Homes and The Sandleford Farm Partnership had submitted plans for 1,080 new homes, 80 extra-care units, a 155-acre public country park, new primary school, land for expansion of Park House School, a local centre of retail outlets and £7.5m of community infrastructure contributions through CIL payments.
Donnington New Homes, which controls land at the western edge of Sandleford, has submitted a separate application to build up to 500 homes on land off Warren Road. That application is yet to be determined.
Two separate plans for Sandleford were refused by the council in 2017 as the two developers “had not delivered on assurances that they would work together on one cohesive plan”.
Rejecting the latest scheme, the council listed 14 reasons for refusal, ranging from a lack of a holistic approach, its impact on the environment and ancient woodland, impact on the A34 and failure to secure delivery of necessary infrastructure.
Say No to Sandleford campaigner Peter Norman said: “If you go through the consultation responses I don’t think there was one that recommended going ahead, but there are contradictions in the responses.
“This is just not where we should be putting a major housing development.
“If anything we should be looking at Sandleford as part of our green lung in Newbury.”
Sandleford was accepted as a strategic housing site for up to 2,000 homes in 2012 and half of the homes were expected to be built by 2026.
The council has now said that “it is unlikely to assume the delivery of any units at Sandleford Park” within this period.
Furthermore, Sandleford has not been included within the council’s five-year housing supply.
Mr Norman said: “I hope that the council will take the opportunity to look at this again.
“Things have changed.
“It’s time they say enough is enough, we don’t want a Bloor Homes identikit development in this part of the woods
“I hope the council have got the guts to put their hands up, they don’t need to say they were wrong, they need to say things have changed and with it our plans have changed.”
Refusing the latest scheme the council said that the proposed development failed to “ensure the holistic comprehensive development” and contained “numerous inconsistencies and omissions”.
It said: “The submitted application documentation fails to provide adequate certainty and confidence that this proposal will deliver the required comprehensive development of the Sandleford Strategic Site Allocation (SSSA) as a whole, along with the co-ordinated and timely delivery of the associated infrastructure, services and facilities necessary to mitigate its impact across the entirety of the SSSA and beyond.
“The unacceptability of the proposal is exacerbated by numerous inconsistencies in the contents of the various submitted plans and reports, as well as in relation to the proposals for the adjoining site.”
The council declared a climate emergency last year with the aim of making the district net zero carbon by 2030.
It said that the Sandleford scheme would fail to “deliver an exemplar development regarding carbon dioxide emissions reduction, in the form of renewable energy generation, and to deliver a zero carbon residential-led mixed use urban extension.
“It is considered to be an unsustainable and harmful development, failing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the extensive use of renewables on site and otherwise contributing to climate crisis.”
A lack of confidence on the harm to ancient woodlands on the site was also noted, along with lack of information on how Sandleford would not have a severe impact on the A34.
Failure to secure satisfactory planning obligations for infrastructure and mitigation measures for 13 separate impact criteria, such as education, healthcare and highways works, was another reason for refusal.