Cllr Tony Vickers has been tracking the proposals for a major new housing site in South Newbury, known as Sandleford Park, for over 10 years.
Between 2009 and 2012 he was the Lib Dem Planning Spokesperson on West Berkshire District Council (WBDC - the Local Planning Authority) and opposed the allocation of 2000 new homes on this greenfield site because of the impact it would have on the local highway network. You can read the story up to 2017 here and his update as at March 2019 here. Tony is now back with the same portfolio and this time has Transport, Housing and Countryside to cover as well.
In the past two weeks a new application, replacing the one by Bloor Homes of 2018 (which has not yet been withdrawn) has been formally submitted to WBDC. If anyone reading this has comments they wish to make, they mustn’t assume that comments made to the very similar 2018 one will be considered to apply to this. New comments must be made if they are to count.
Tony’s first comment on 20/01238/OUTMAJ is short and highlights a suspicious feature of this new application: the fact that it has been with WBDC since last October! Another new application by the other developer Donnington New Homes has, according to the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two developers, also been with the Council for over 6 months – yet still doesn’t feature on the public facing website. Here is what Tony says about this.
From the above link, you can find the other 120+ documents that make up the new Bloor Homes application. Tony and his Lib Dem colleagues on WBDC and Newbury Town and Greenham Parish councils are busy poring over these documents online prior to a meeting of the Joint Working Group that the two local councils most affected will be holding shortly.
Meanwhile this Friday 17th July Tony’s Lib Dem Wash Common Ward colleague Cllr Adrian Abbs will be hosting an online discussion for up to 100 local people. There are a few spaces remaining for this. To register click here.
According to the new Case Officer for Sandleford at WBDC Planning Department, the application will not be considered until October at least. Comments should however be submitted before the end of August. Tony says: “It will take a lot to persuade me that the proposals for Sandleford Park are sound. I know the Council now has a duty to deliver up to 2000 homes from this site, since it forms part of its Local Plan. But there are lots of policies in that Local Plan that must also be met if the proposals are to be acceptable to local people in the Council’s own terms. Following the declaration by the Government and the Council itself of a Climate Emergency, the sustainability of a site with homes built to accommodate car commuters has to be in doubt. I can’t say I definitely won’t support any plans that come forward but I’m going to be hard to convince.”