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Another development plan for 'gateway into Thatcham'

Town council warned of 'development creep' if plans are approved

Another development plan for 'gateway into Thatcham'

ANOTHER set of plans to develop a ‘gateway into Thatcham’ have been submitted.

Duncan Crook has applied to build 26 apartments and seven houses on 129, 129a, 131, 133, 137 and land at 139 and 141 Bath Road.

Access to the site will come from Bath Road and Henwick Lane and 43 parking spaces will be provided. 

The plot has permission for 18 flats and two houses. An application for 12 flats for 139 and 141 was granted on appeal in 2012. In June this year Mr Crook lost an appeal looking to build three houses and 32 flats.

Mr Crook said that the development would vastly improve the site and surrounding area, while bringing economic social and environmental benefits to Bath Road and Thatcham.

The application has received two comments from residents so far.

Raising concerns about parking capacity, Stephen Hallahan said that he doubted that the impact of the development could be constrained to the site.

“It is unlikely that any of the Barfield Road residents have bought into this quiet retirement-orientated area with the expectation that it will become semi-urbanised and suffer over-flow parking for excessively dense multi-storey developments overshadowing their gardens,” he said.

But Bath Road resident Elizabeth Brind said that the development was long needed.

She said: “Surely people who come through Thatcham would rather see new, clean-looking, designed buildings, rather than the tired, run-down buildings which are there at the moment.”

Thatcham Town Council discussed the application at a meeting last week.

The council’s technical consultant, Chris Watts, said that the increasing scale of the complete scheme of 45 new properties across the site gave him concerns.

This was because the properties would appear as one block, which would affect the character and setting of the area.

He also raised concerns over car parking on the site and access to the properties so close to ‘all the complications’ of the traffic light junction and shops that could arise during peak hours.

Rob Denton Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said that Henwick Lane became congested on Sundays when sports fixtures were held at the Henwick Worthy Playing Fields.

“I think its absolutely critical that we consider the parking,” he said.

John Cheliah (Con, Thatcham West) added that traffic turning in and out of the site could be ‘a big hazard.’

Jason Collis (Con, Thatcham North) said that he was concerned that the applicant was already looking to extend the site and number of homes even though building had not started yet.

Town council leader Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said the plans could set an unwelcome precedent if they were approved.

Mr Watts said he was concerned about the impact of the development ‘creeping down the road’ and suggested the town council object on highways grounds.

“That is the prevailing view of people who live around there,” he said.

A decision is expected from West Berkshire Council by Thursday, December 10.

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