Up to 1,000 homes could be built near Newbury if developers win a planning appeal in May.

Bloor Homes and Sandleford Homes Partnership want to build the homes, a new primary school and a local centre on Sandleford Park – but their planning application was rejected in October 2020.

They were also planning to build an 80-unit care facility, create a new country park and provide land for the Park House Academy School expansion.

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The developers have lodged an appeal and the Planning Inspectorate will decide whether the planning application should be approved at an inquiry on May 5.

According to the plans, the developers want to provide “a sustainable and high-quality mixed use development” that will “retain and enhance its natural setting and respect the existing landscape”.

West Berkshire Council’s draft local plan states the 331 acre site would be suitable for 1,500 new homes and 1,000 homes “are deliverable” by 2037.

But the council refused planning permission for the Sandleford Park development in October, due to “numerous inconsistencies” in the plans and concerns about the impact on the environment and nearby roads.

The council provided the following 14 reasons for the decision:

  • The development would be “unsustainable and harmful” and “fail to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the extensive use of renewables on site”.
  • The plans do not “guarantee the necessary vehicular access through to Andover Road”.
  • The planning application “fails to provide” enough information to show the development would not have “a severe impact” on the A34.
  • The plans will ” result in the extensive loss” of trees and hedgerows and “cause harm to a number of irreplaceable priority habitats”.
  • Council policy states 70 per cent of affordable homes provided on site should be social rented units – but the plans state that 70 per cent of the new affordable homes would be mixture of affordable rented and social rented units.
  • Their Strategic Landscape and Green Infrastructure Plan was “uncertain and contradictory” due to “inconsistencies and omissions” in the drawings and reports they submitted.
  • The “unacceptable” Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment “fails to adequately and appropriately assess” the impact of the proposed development.
  • There are six ” irreplaceable” ancient woodlands on the site and Natural England policy states there should be 15 metre buffer zones around those woodlands – but the developers plan to “encroach into” the buffer zones.
  • While the developers have agreed to provide land for the Park House Academy School expansion, it would “fail to make adequate provision in relation to secondary education”.
  • There is “insufficient regard” for the “adverse impacts on the existing retained habitats” on the site.

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  • The development could have “significant effects” on European Designated Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
  • There is a potential for “an adverse impact on ground water and the woodlands”.
  • The development “fails to secure satisfactory Section 106 planning obligations” to “deliver the necessary infrastructure”.
  • The developers “fail to ensure the holistic comprehensive development” of the area earmarked for 1,500 new homes by the council as there are “numerous inconsistencies in the contents of the various submitted plans and reports”.