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Thatcham housing proposals to go on display

Open consultation event to view plans for 75 new homes

Thatcham housing proposals to go on display

THATCHAM residents can view proposals for 75 homes in the town next week.

Bloor Homes Southern is looking to build the homes on land to the east of Tull Way and north of the Henwick Worthy sportsground.

The developers are yet to submit a planning application but the initial proposal includes public open space and access off Tull Way. They will hold a community consultation event for residents to view the proposals.

Residents fought plans for 90 homes on the site, defined as agricultural land within the settlement boundary, when they were submitted by local farmer Caroline Graham in 2012.

More than 400 people signed a petition with concerns ranging from the loss of a greenfield site to the reduction of the green gap between Newbury and Thatcham.

Fears of an increased flood risk, lack of infrastructure and the impact on local roads were also raised.

Residents thought they had won the fight when West Berkshire Council refused the plans, until Mrs Graham appealed in 2013. 

The appeal was also thrown out with the inspector saying that the development would harm the character and appearance of that particular part of the town.

The site was put forward in the council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment in 2014.

The council said that the site was potentially developable within six to 10 years. It added that plans would be dependent on whether the site was allocated in the council’s development plan document (DPD), which identifies preferred housing sites across the district.

The site was not considered in the DPD, however.

Former town and district councillor Keith Woodhams, who fought alongside residents to oppose the plans, said he thought it was inevitable that developers would take another shot at the site.

He said: “I did fight along with residents to retain it for open space and the outlook of the rolling hills.

“We haven’t got much left. It would be really disappointing if it went ahead.”

Strategic land and planning director for Bloor Homes Southern, Giuseppe Zanre, said: “We have considered  the previous inspector’s report in great detail and believe that our new proposed housing development, east of Tull Way, addresses those previous concerns.

“We have produced a much more sympathetic layout for the site, with fewer houses and more informal public open spaces.

“We will be pleased to discuss our plans with local residents and neighbours next week at the public exhibition."

The community consultation will be held at Newbury and Thatcham Hockey Club at the Henwick Worthy Sportsground on Thursday, February 11. The event runs from 3pm until 7pm.

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