A DECISION is set to be made on unpopular plans to build 249 homes in Shinfield after three days of legal wrangling.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) planning bosses threw the designs to build the homes on land south of Cutbush Lane in June 2019.

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This was due to worries about some of the three-storey units not being in character with the area and fears about an accompanying play area being located outside development boundaries and not having appropriate screening.

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But developers Bellway Homes appealed the refusal and claimed the homes would not be out of character or harm the countryside, suggesting the new development would have “significant and tangible benefits” for the community.

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A public inquiry ran from Monday, January 20 to Thursday, January 23, where arguments were made for and against the plans.

In his closing statement, Shinfield South councillor Jim Frewin said: “It is residents that have to live with the consequences of development.

“It is our experience that the planning process is actually a battle between planning experts.

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“We feel we have at least had a voice and we hope that we have been listened to.”

Cllr Frewin said residents felt they had been “let down” by excessive housebuilding in Shinfield, and that it was a “mistake” for the land south of Cutbush Lane to have been offered for development.

He also pointed towards concerns over flooding, congestion, waiting lists at schools nearby as reasons the plans should not go ahead.

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A lawyer representing WBC later suggested the designs for the new homes were out of keeping with the character of the area.

Mr Cameron said: “It is plain to see that the three-storey blocks proposed are not sympathetic to the character.”

A legal representative for the appellants, Bellway Homes, hit back at the council’s reasons for refusal.

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He said: “There will be few inquiries which deal with such a narrow set of concerns.”

The representative added the reasons were “lacking in credibility”, that it was “wholly inappropriate” to suggest the homes were of poor design and that “it is difficult to see how a children’s play area made largely of wood will harm the environment.”

The Planning Inspectorate will make a final decision on the plans by March 16.