Plan of 54 houses between Bracknell and Wokingham denied
A plan for 54 houses was rejected over fears it would “bridge the gap” between Bracknell and Wokingham.
However, the plan was turned down at a Wokingham Borough Council planning meeting due to the impact it would have on the countryside which serves as a ‘buffer’ between the two towns.
Speaking at the meeting, opponent David Stack said: “The development is actually outside the boundaries of the settlement of Wokingham.
“It also doesn’t demonstrate how he would maintain the separation between Wokingham and Bracknell to avoid interfering with the visual amenities of the local area.”
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The plan received a total of 86 objections, including from Cllr Pete Dennis (Liberal Democrats, Wescott), who argued that the development would result in unacceptable loss of trees, where Wokingham Borough Council should be “re-wild” areas for it to receive Tree Cities of the World, which the council started asking for last month.
Cllr Gregor Murray (Conservative, Norreys) also called for the plan to be denied, saying proposed access to it from the A329 London Road would be dangerous.
Opponents of the plan have argued that it should be refused as the land in question has not been earmarked for development in the Wokingham Local Plan.
Indeed, the app site is in the countryside just outside the South Wokingham Major Development – or Strategic Development Location (SDL), which was highlighted by planning officer Joanna Carter.
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A similar project by Beaulieu Homes to build 74 homes was turned down in January 2020 and an appeal was withdrawn in April of this year.
Kay Collins, speaking on behalf of Beaulieu Homes, said, “The application before you is the result of several months of consultation and discussion between the agents and the applicant.
“These discussions had a positive impact on the proposals initially put forward by the applicant and resulted in a development of homes that will positively contribute to the area and benefit from the sustainability and good access created by the continued development of South Wokingham SDL.
The developers also argued that future occupants would have good access to three suitable areas of natural green space (SANG) that they could use for recreation and exercise, with the two closest SANG being Keephatch Gardens and Buckhurst. Meadows.
Beaulieu Homes would have 19 affordable units on the site, representing 35 percent of the proposal.
Constable Carter recommended that the plan be approved. She said it would be a “sustainable site that would successfully integrate into the surrounding area”.
But ultimately, the plan was rejected by six to three in a refusal motion brought by Cllr Gary Cowan (Independent, Arborfield).
The decision was made during the planning meeting on Wednesday, December 8.