STREATLEY’S community could be in “serious jeopardy” after plans for a new car park deemed “essential” for the village were thrown out by West Berkshire Council (WBC).

The Swan at Streatley wanted to add 87 car parking spaces to its site following a multi-million-pound redevelopment of its hotel but officers and councillors put a stop to the proposal after suggesting the expansion could harm the environment and could increase congestion.

This comes despite dozens of residents getting behind the plans, with several demanding the car park is built so excessive on-street parking in the village is reduced.

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Ian Judd, treasurer of Streatley’s Morrell Room village hall, told councillors at WBC’s planning committee many customers park at the hotel when using the hall and visiting the local church because there are not enough spaces to park in nearby.

He said: “For many years this severe parking issue has been solved by The Swan. If this application is not approved, the Morrell Room would be in serious jeopardy.

“I’m not trying to exaggerate – no more spaces would mean the hall would have to close.”

Planning bosses heard how the death of pop star George Michael, who lived in neighbouring village Goring before he passed away in 2016, and the expansion of nearby towns, had made the parking problem worse as more people were driving through the area.

Streatley Parish Council representative Jeremy Spring also voiced his support for the plans before The Swan representative John Gripton told members: “We wouldn’t be doing this unless we were absolutely certain it was needed.

“Refusal of this planning application means the village suffers harm.”

Despite significant support for the proposal from residents, ward councillor Alan Law led the charge against the plans over fears of developing on a greenfield site, worries about pollution from more cars and the lack of a traffic survey.

Facing loud boos and jeers from residents, he said: “It would be common sense to say there will be more traffic.

“Seventy per cent of supporters of this project do not live in Streatley. They don’t reflect the majority of people I speak to on the high street.”

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The new spaces would have been created in the open countryside, which is classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

After a council officer claimed the plans should be chucked out because the impact on the conservation area outweighed the benefits for The Swan, councillors narrowly voted to refuse the plans, to which residents shouted “disgrace” back at them.

Speaking to The Chronicle after the decision, The Swan owner Hugh Osmond said: “We’re very disappointed but I think it is even more disappointing for the local residents.

“It is highly unusual – the village is up in arms because they want it to go through but officers recommended refusal.

“Given the local feeling, I’m amazed members were prepared to go against these plans.

“It is more about protecting the high street rather than enabling us to have more customers.

“We don’t see another solution – we were only doing this in the interests of the village.”

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Councillors gave their verdict on the plans at a planning meeting on Wednesday, June 26, little more than two weeks before the hotel is due to re-open following its redevelopment.