A PUBLIC inquiry into controversial plans to build 225 homes in Burghfield has been delayed for a third time.

The inquiry will continue May 13, eight months after it began in September 2018. It was initially delayed because of evidence submitted by the Environment Agency the night before the inquiry began.

According to that new evidence a considerable portion of the development area could be a high-risk flood zone. The second session of the inquiry was held in January, but now has been delayed again, for yet more evidence on flood risk to be prepared.

The inquiry will be held at the West Berkshire Council (WBC) offices in Newbury.

“The pause is to allow all of the parties, including the Environment Agency, to prepare further evidence on flood risks,” a spokesman for WBC said.

The controversial plans to build up to 225 homes in Burghfield received 328 letters of objection and were rejected by WBC in June 2017. 28 letters were received in support of the application.

The plans included flood alleviation work, new facilities for the Burghfield Sailing Club, a new bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal, and 24 floating homes.

The council rejected the proposals for several reasons, including a lack of sustainability, the impact on bats and nightingales, and concerns over primary school capacity. The developer, Berfield Ltd, appealed to the rejection, which led to the launch of the public


A spokesman for the Environment Agency said they were very limited on what could be said publicly ‘as the enquiry is in progress’. He said: “It is normal for the Environment Agency to be consulted in the planning process. We are an interested party to this inquiry

regarding flood risk from rivers.”

In response to the first delay, Carol Jackson-Doerge, ward councillor for Burghfield and chairman of WBC, said: “It was the right thing to do to give all the parties the opportunity to look at the new information that came forward.

“The experts in the field are there to advise us on both sides of the party. The evidence only came in the night before the inquiry began.”

Berfield Ltd could not be reached for comment. Ian Morrin, ward councillor for Burghfield, has been approached for comment.