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Petition objecting to 2,500-home plan for Thatcham

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More than 900 signatories opposing West Berkshire Council proposals

A petition has been launched objecting to proposals for up to 2,500 homes to be built on the edge of Thatcham.

As reported in the Newbury Weekly News, West Berkshire Council has identified 170 hectares of land in north east Thatcham to be developed.

The council is asking for feedback on the proposals featured in its Local Plan Review, which assesses future housing and employment needs in the district.

More than 900 people have signed the petition on change.org – Thatcham Residents Say No to 2500 New Houses – since it was started two weeks ago.

The petition demands that the council thinks again and says that the town has not had any significant infrastructure investments, despite recent rapid residential growth.

It says: “This development will not make the lives of the existing residents of Thatcham better.

“It will put excessive strain on our infrastructure and services: the railway crossing, traffic congestion, roads, doctors surgeries, nursery places, leisure facilities, support services for the elderly and for Thatcham’s youth, the library and much more.

“It makes no real commitment to town centre regeneration nor does it do anything to address air quality issues.

“The proposal fails to make any specific requirement for the development to be net zero carbon, which is a commitment of both West Berkshire Council and Thatcham Town Council by 2030.”

Half of the 2,500 homes are expected to be built by 2037, and the council expects any planning applications to provide two new primary schools, a new secondary school, sports pitches, community centres and shops, and improved active travel routes.

The council said that the number of homes proposed would provide Thatcham with the infrastructure it needed.

It added that north east Thatcham, from the top of Floral Way to Colthrop, was the logical place for the town to grow.

Furthermore, constraints elsewhere in the district, such as the Detailed Emergency Planning Zones around AWE sites and 74 per cent being in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, had limited new strategic development to Thatcham, along with 1,500 homes at Sandleford Park in Newbury.

When the proposals were announced, the council’s executive member for housing, Hilary Cole (Con, Cold Ash and Chieveley), said: “Thatcham has had piecemeal development and has lagged behind in terms of infrastructure.

“It won’t be for the benefit of the new development, it would be better quality facilities for all.

“I would urge all Thatcham residents to have a look at the plan and make their views known because we need all our residents and key stakeholders to respond to our plan.”

The consultation closes on February 2 and can be responded to here

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