A PLANNED development of 199 new homes in Calcot will destroy badger homes, if councillors grant planning permission

Bellway Homes, one of the UK’s largest housebuilders, wants to build 199 homes on land to the west of Dorking Way. 

There will be 80 affordable housing homes, 56 of which will be social rent and 24 shared ownership. The remaining 119 will sold privately. 

But two bader setts are on the site, which would be destroyed by the development. That’s according to the Binfield Badger Group, who are strongly objecting to the plans. 

Because badgers are a legally protected species, Natural England must give consent to the developer to destroy the two setts. 

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Michael Butler, principal planning officer at West Berkshire Council, downplayed destroying where the badgers live. 

In a report to the council’s eastern area planning committee, he said: “Officer advice is … that the public benefit of the 199 housing scheme far outweighs the ecological harm caused.” 

The views of the council’s ecologist have not yet been published, and Natural England have not objected to the application. 

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There will be 30 one-bed homes, 56 two-beds, 83 three-beds, and 30 four-beds; and 414 car parking spaces. The only road access is to the north on to Dorking Way, which then leads onto the A4. 

The A4 is north-west to the 7.4 hectare site, existing housing is to the east, M4 to the south-west, and open fields to the south-east. 

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The developer will have to pay £1.6 million community infrastructure levy, which will go towards providing local public services like schools and buses. 

Tilehurst, Theale and Burghfield parish councils are objecting to the plans, on the grounds of the impact on schools, traffic and doctors’ surgeries.

The council received 41 letters from the public, three of which support the plans, and 38 object.

Mr Butler said: “There is a significant range of infrastructure and facilities to support the prospective population of the development.

“Major shops, employment areas, good road communications and schools are all located in close proximity, plus large areas of public open space and open countryside to the west and south.

“There will inevitably be a degree of impact on local traffic flows on the wider network, especially at peak periods, but the anticipated level is judged as acceptable.”

There is a pillbox and anti-tank ditch from world war two on the site. The council’s archaeologist recommended a condition to investigate before works start. 

The council’s eastern area planning committee will consider the planning application on November 20 — at a public meeting in the Calcot Centre — and decide then whether to grant or refuse planning permission.