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Thatcham town councillors criticise Hambridge Lake 41 chalets development as appeal decision awaits

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An enquiry into an appeal for the construction of 41 chalets between Newbury and Thatcham has now been completed, but a formal decision is still up in the air.

The application for Hambridge Lake was originally made in 2019, when applicants, Pegasus Group, applied to erect 41 holiday chalets around a lake off Hambridge Road in Newbury.

The appeal, made on April 13 this year, was adjourned until September 14 to discuss issues relating to ecology and trees.

The proposed chalets at Hambridge Lakes (52812538)
The proposed chalets at Hambridge Lakes (52812538)

In a recent Thatcham Town Council planning and highways meeting it was reported that the enquiry into the appeal has concluded.

An inspector's report is now being written on whether the applicants appeal will be granted, and if so, whether conditions will be applied.

The applicant has proposed the “chalets for recreational holiday leisure only” but has since come under criticism over potentially being a “Trojan horse” for housing.

The proposed chalet design at Hambridge Lakes (52812536)
The proposed chalet design at Hambridge Lakes (52812536)

Thatcham councillors raised specific concerns over the impact that the construction may have in the future.

Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said: “What happens if the business doesn’t flourish will we be left with 41 derelict chalets? Will there be another application for housing or something?”

However, Simon Pike (Lib Dem, Thatcham West) said that provision is being requested to verify that the chalets are in fact being used for “the stated purpose.”

He continued: “The application is dependent on the chalets being used in relation to fishing around the lake.

“That is the justification given for the use.”

However, Richard Foster (Lib Dem, Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham) said that he “wouldn’t be at all surprised” if the applicants later applied for a change of use of their chalets.

“I remember this committee noting that they actually showed the lake with 41 fishing positions shown around it," he added.

"It does look like something that is being applied for on the basis of holidays for fisherman, but actually there’s an ulterior motive for it.”

The plans can be viewed by searching 19/02916/OUTMAJ in West Berkshire's online planning portal.

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