AN appeal against a popular decision to reject controversial plans to build 750 homes on Reading's western edge has been dramatically thrown out by Government.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has dismissed the challenge by London-based Beyond Green Developments (formerly Blue Living) against West Berkshire Council's decision to throw out its proposals for Pincents Hill in Tilehurst.

The district council rejected the mini-town plans, which also included a school, library, recreation space and shops, last year and defended its decision at a public appeal hearing at Pincents Manor in March.

Reading West MP, Alok Sharma, whose opposition to the plans began when he was still a parliamentary candidate, said: "This is absolutely the right decision and a clear victory for localism.

"I want to pay tribute to all the local residents, especially the chairman of the Save Calcot Action Group (SCAG) Joan Lawrie, who have worked so hard and with such great determination to fight off Blue Living's unwelcome development plans.

"Quite simply this was the wrong development in the wrong place and I hope this puts an end to any plans, by anyone to build on Pincents Hill."

A delighted SCAG member, John Betteridge, from Tilehurst, added: "This is absolutely unbelievable news. What a massive relief. It's been a immense battle."

Planning inspector, John Papworth, said: "...although the appeal proposal would provide a range of housing, including affordable units, plus facilities and services, it lies outside the current settlement boundary and within open countryside where policies of restraint apply and within which it would cause substantial harm.

"The Secretary of State also concludes that there is a robust case for accepting that the Council has in excess of a five year supply of housing land without developing the appeal site, so that this harm could not be justified in terms of an inadequate supply of housing land; and he therefore sees no justification for permitting a proposal of the scale proposed at the current time..."

At the appeal hearing, Beyond Green solicitors argued the proposal was a true exemplar of sustainable development by a group of eco-professionals dedicated to making radical changes to the way much need houses are built.

He also attacked West Berkshire Council's failure to include the land in a list of sites earmarked for development to help the local authority meet Government-set housing targets of building 10,500 new homes in the district by 2026.

The original application attracted opposition from thousands of residents as well as Reading borough and Tilehurst, Holybrook and Theale parish councils.

West Berkshire's reasons for refusal included protecting the green gap between Tilehurst and Theale and the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, which part of the site lies within, and argued it would have a negative impact on already congested roads.