A DIVISIVE plan to build a new Lidl plus 43 homes in Lower Earley has been recommended for refusal again.

Controversy has been brewing in Lower Earley since last year over proposals to build homes and a new Lidl supermarket on land off Meldreth Way on the outskirts of the town.

The developer,  Lower Earley Properties, has argued the plan would provide much needed affordable housing and an attractive new Lidl to the area.

However, many neighbours have opposed the plan as it involves building on a meadow which is popular with walkers.

READ MORE: Argument rumbles over controversial Lidl Lower Earley plans

The plans have proven controversial ever since the land in question, affectionately known as Swallows Meadow, was ‘deforested’ in work undertaken by contractors last year.

Lower Earley Properties has submitted additional information and made revisions to the application in September.

Revisions involve changes to the access of the homes and the proposed Lidl following discussions with Wokingham Borough Council’s highways team, minor adjustments to the plots of some of the houses, and limiting the impact of the development on two oak trees. A one bedroom private rented flat has been changed to make it an affordable rent property.

Information has also been submitted related to highways and car parking, particularly how long shoppers will be able to park at the proposed Lidl.

Reading Chronicle: An updated masterplan for the 43 homes and a Lidl off Meldreth Way in Lower Earley. Credit: DHA ArchitectureAn updated masterplan for the 43 homes and a Lidl off Meldreth Way in Lower Earley. Credit: DHA Architecture

However, after considering the new information and revisions, Earley Town Council’s planning committee has recommended refusal a second time, stating that the developers “have not responded to any of the town council’s concerns.”

It recommended refusal as it believes the development is inappropriate, involves the loss of wildlife and trees, and would get rid of a crucial environmental buffer between Lower Earley and the M4.

You can find the full reasons for refusal here.

READ MORE: Councillor's fury over controversial plans for new Lidl and homes in Lower Earley

The recommendation for refusal was undertaken at Earley Town Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, October 5.

The committee recommended the plan be refused for a first time in the summer. However, its recommendation is only advisory. Ultimately, the application will be decided by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee.

An officer from the borough council’s planning department will write its own recommendation prior to consideration at a future planning committee meeting.

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A spokesman for Lower Earley Properties said: “Our plans will deliver great value shopping for local families, create hundreds of new jobs and provide 43 homes – 40 per cent of which will be affordable housing.

“We are also proposing new electric vehicle charging points, almost 150 new trees, and additional landscaping at the site.

“Whilst there will always be those who oppose new investment, we are delighted over 600 local residents have written in support of our plans.

“Given the level of public interest, it is only right that Wokingham Borough Council brings the application before its planning committee so elected members can make the final decision.”

Lower Earley Properties is a subsidiary of Janson Property, which has 15 previous and current projects, which include bringing an Aldi, the Victoria Cross Pub, and Pure Gym to Whitley in Reading and previously owned Anvil Court in Wokingham.