Wed, 10 Feb 2021
A SENIOR West Berkshire Council officer has said the council “will not have its fingers burned again” over plans for thousands of homes.
The fields at north east Thatcham have been put forward by a consortium of land owners and developers, including Donnington New Homes, The Wasing Estate, A2Dominion and Ptarmigan Land.
Speaking at last week’s meeting, Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said he feared a repeat of the ongoing situation at Sandleford Park in Newbury.
Sandleford was identified by the district council to take up to 2,000 homes in its plan 10 years ago.
The applications are yet to be approved as the council said that developers Bloor Homes and Donnington New Homes “had not delivered on assurances that they would work together on one cohesive plan”.
There have also been disputes over how much the developers should contribute towards infrastructure.
Bloor Homes and the Sandleford Partnership have appealed against the council's refusal.
Mr Crumly said he feared a repeat of the Sandleford situation and that the developers would “build half the houses and then try and wriggle out of building the schools, surgeries and shops that we need”.
West Berkshire Council’s planning policy officer Bryan Lyttle said: “We have learned from Sandleford and we have been very tough with the consortium coming forward and saying ‘we have had our fingers burned in the past. We can’t have that again.’
“So there are mechanisms in place that show the deliverability of the site going forward.
“The developers have to show us something that can go into the public realm of the plans they have going forward.”
Failure to determine Sandleford resulted in plans for up to 401 homes near Vodafone’s Newbury HQ in Shaw-cum-Donnington being won on appeal.
The council has included Sandleford to provide up to 1,500 homes in its Local Plan Review.