Fri, 22 Jul 2016
PLANS to convert Thatcham’s Pound Lane depot into housing have been approved, despite some confusion over the number of affordable homes.
The redundant recycling depot is to be demolished and turned into 47 homes by Persimmon Homes North London.
And because the application represents a major development on council-owned land it was called before councillors at a meeting last week.
Planning officer Simon Till told councillors that the site was deemed to be sustainable and that the development met the council’s 30 per cent threshold for affordable housing.
Fourteen affordable homes are included in the plans, however councillors questioned this figure, as only 13 were listed in a breakdown of housing type.
There was also some confusion over the number of parking spaces owing to the council updating its requirements when it adopted its development plan document last year.
Ninety-four parking spaces are to be included, which Mr Till said was between the limits of the old and new policy – 71 to 107.
The depot appeared in West Berkshire Council’s strategic housing land availability assessment document, with a development potential of 21 properties; although it noted that the site could accommodate between 40 and 50 units.
Planning agent Victoria Roe told councillors that this allocation was crucial and that the council’s plan would be undermined if the application was refused.
“This is redundant brownfield site that will positively address the housing need,” she said.
Miss Roe confirmed the number of affordable homes as 14 and that the final home was missing because it was subject to a development agreement yet to be completed.
She added that the parking provision was acceptable owing to the depot’s sustainable location.
Supporting the scheme, Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said: “I’m sure those living around it will be pleased that this unpleasant and unsightly industrial estate will be removed and it will be a benefit to the area.”
Councillors unanimously approved the plans.
West Berkshire Council proposed to sell the Veolia site in 2013 after it became surplus to requirements, following the opening of the Padworth centre in 2012.
At the time of the sale being decided, the council agreed that an amount of money raised should be earmarked towards more affordable housing in the district.
However, after having to cut £17.5m from its budget because of a reduction in its government grant, the council announced it would be using most of the £2.9m sale of the depot on redundancy pay-offs for staff.