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Plans approved for 16 homes on land off Charlotte Close in Hermitage

WEST Berkshire Council's western area planning Committee has unanimously approved plans to build 16 new homes in Charlotte Close, Hermitage.

The proposed site of development is an overgrown greenfield site within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

However, it has already been set aside for residential development, and Surrey-based firm CALA Homes has been seeking permission to build on it.

In a letter dated January 22, Hermitage Parish Council outlined its own position on the proposals.

Members expressed some concerns with regard to the potential increase in traffic, as well as the impact on the mature trees already standing in the area.

At a meeting on April 28, members of the committee debated the plans.

The site in Hermitage. (46689333)
The site in Hermitage. (46689333)

The application had been put to the committee following the submission of 10 letters of objection by Hermitage residents.

However, no opponents were present on the day, and councillors assessed the plans positively.

Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley and Cold Ash) – the ward member for Hermitage – lauded the scheme.

She emphasised the attachment of a significant number of conditions by council officers, in response to queries regarding potential environmental and traffic effects.

Mrs Cole said: "I think this application has come a long way.

"I think careful consideration's been given to the design, and the layout.

"It's pleasing to see that we're getting 40 per cent affordable housing."

Tony Vickers (Lib Dem, Newbury Wash Common) praised the developer's proposals to increase accessibility on-site, with provision made for a set of 'snickets', or alleyways, between the houses.

Mr Vickers said: "I've got a fond feeling about this part of the district, because, within half a mile of here, my family first lived in West Berkshire when I was learning how to be a military surveyor 40 years ago.

"Ever since Hungerford Green's been built, some more building in this particular location was needed, in order to link that to the village.

The site in Hermitage. (46689329)
The site in Hermitage. (46689329)

"And I think this does it very well.

"I'm very pleased to see what they call the 'snickets'.

"We call them 'gunnels' up in the North West, where my wife comes from.

"I'm always looking for permeability on developments.

"I think this is a really well thought-through development.

"Of course, the site's got wild, and it's probably an absolute paradise for wildlife – but that's what happens when you stop using a piece of land in the countryside, the wildlife takes over.

"I just trust the developer will look after what's there, rehome it and restore it to what Hermitage deserves – another delightful little development."

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