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"There'll be trouble" - Thatcham's Black Horse plans approved again

Councillors vote to convert pub to housing despite resident's warning

"There'll be trouble" - Thatcham's Black Horse plans approved again

“THERE will be trouble down St John’s Road now.”

That was a resident’s warning to West Berkshire councillors after they approved Capita Moore’s resubmitted plans to convert the Black Horse pub into three houses.

Residents signed a 31-strong petition against the plans – which do not include any car parking spaces – saying that three extra homes would add further strain to the already congested road.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s eastern area planning committee last week, resident Derek Prudent said that an additional six or seven cars parked in the road would cause confrontation.

He said: “That road can’t take that amount of cars.

“When it comes to parking reason goes out the window. It will cause confrontation.

“The good friendly atmosphere in St John’s Road will disappear overnight.

“I think you need to consider more about the effect of this rather than planning reasons.”

Mr Prudent said that residents had had applications to extend their properties refused because they had not provided extra parking spaces.

He questioned why a plan for three new homes could not be refused on highways grounds.

Council highways officer Gareth Dowding replied that council data looked at the worst case scenario for the existing use and the proposed use.

Based on this data, he said that the homes would not generate more traffic than the pub.

“There is no justification for us to say no,” he said.

Planning officer Dave Pearson added that the difference between the new homes and the house extensions was because the latter would have generated additional traffic.

But Thatcham councillor Marigold Jaques (Con, Thatcham Central) said that emergency service vehicles had struggled to get down the road.

“It’s absolute gridlock,” she said. “There’s already some ill feeling about who is parking where.

“It’s not come to fisticuffs but it will be accelerated.

“I think there is a duty of care to residents, nearly everyone in the road has objected to it.”

Graham Bridgman (Con, Mortimer) said that if the road was currently gridlocked then it couldn’t really get much worse. 

West Berkshire Council approved the scheme last year, only for it to later rescind planning permission, as the developer failed to enter a legal
agreement to mitigate the impact of the development on local infrastructure and services.

Mr Pearson said he had no idea why the agreement had not been signed but added that the developers would now pay the council less since the introduction of the community infrastructure levy.

And Mr Pearson said it would be difficult to challenge an appeal as the material planning considerations had not changed.

Councillors approved the plans by eight votes, with Mrs Jaques and Keith Chopping (Con, Sulhamstead) objecting.

Speaking on the decision Mr Prudent said: “You will have police down that road now.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting.

“I hope the people who voted for it can live with themselves.

“There’s going to be trouble down that road.”

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