West Berkshire Council disappointment at Sandleford Park appeal
The Bloor Homes and Sandleford Partnership's appeal against the refusal of their planning application by West Berkshire Council for the residential-led development of Sandleford Park (East) has been allowed.
The decision was made by the Minister of State for Housing, Stuart Andrew MP, on behalf of the Secretary of State, following a Public Inquiry last May. In agreement with the Inspectors report, which recommended that the appeal be allowed, outline planning permission has now been granted subject to planning conditions and S106 planning obligations,as detailed in the decision letter.
It has been West Berkshire Council's long-standing ambition and policy to build out the allocated Sandleford Strategic Site, which will bring much needed housing to Newbury. Despite this, the Council previously refused the Bloor Homes application because it did not include the whole site and was unacceptable for a number of reasons, including impact on woodlands, trees, biodiversity, landscape, and inadequate provision of emergency access, public transport, affordable housing tenure mix and sustainable energy generation. In the lead up to, and during the Inquiry, Bloor Homes submitted a series of changes seeking to overcome those concerns.
We will now encourage and seek to engage in pre-application discussions positively and pro-actively with the appellants, to ensure that forthcoming reserved matters applications deliver a high quality and sustainable development.
The development will eventually provide up to 1,080 new homes including affordable housing; a new two-form entry primary school; expansion land and facilities for Park House Academy School; a local centre; the formation of new means of access onto Monks Lane; open space, including a country park; drainage infrastructure; other associated infrastructure works.
The Secretary of State concluded that on balance the proposals, along with the extensive list of necessary conditions and the developers' infrastructure legal commitments, include sufficient measures to:
- unlock the longstanding situation that has prevented the development of this allocated site to progress to date;
- not preclude the co-ordinated development of the remainder of Sandleford Park (West);
- deliver much needed high quality housing, including affordable housing, a local centre, a publicly accessible country park and other open space;
- deliver the necessary highways, public transport, education, health and other infrastructure in a timely fashion in mitigation of the needs and impacts of the development;
- provide energy generation from renewables and low/zero carbon energy sources; and
- render the proposal acceptable in terms of impacts on trees, woodlands and biodiversity on site.
Cllr Richard Somner, Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Countryside at West Berkshire Council, said:
"We are disappointed with the outcome of the appeal Inquiry for Sandleford Park, which is an allocated strategic development site.
"However, in order to provide a sustainable urban extension to the south of Newbury, the Council is actively seeking and will continue to engage positively with the landowners/developers and interested parties on moving the site forward. This will ensure the delivery of a high quality residential-led development at Sandleford Park, along with the necessary infrastructure, within the context of this appeal decision."